Meal Consumer Research

Course content

An introduction to food consumer research as a scientific discipline that deals in a multi-disciplinary way with the understanding of the food choices made by consumers. Focus will be on presenting general and current food consumer research highlighting the importance of product cues (healthiness, sustainability and ethics) for consumer’s choices. Further, the course will introduce examples of consumer driven food innovation using relevant consumer methodologies. The role of consumer science in evidence-based policy making will be addressed.

The course will provide the students with an understanding of how individual factors and product cues can be used to segment consumers in the population of interest using online questionnaires combined with cluster analysis and profiling clusters with logistic regression.

An introduction to hedonic evaluation of foods and meals with classic scaling methods will be given. The public health nutrition aspect of meal research will be discussed. The course will focus on solving practical problems related to consumer driven innovative meal and food product design and evaluation.

At the end of the course, students would have designed their own questionaire, they would have carried out a consumer survey online (annonymous data collection), have analysed their data using the appropriate statistical methods and software (R/R Studio), and have communicated written and orally their research results. Students will use the following statistical methods: descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation, percentages and confidence intervals); segmenting of consumers using cluster analysis and profiling clusters with logistic regression.


MSc Programme in Integrated Food Studies

Learning outcome

After the completion of the course the student will have acquired the following knowledge, skills and competences



  • Understand and describe food consumer science, different theories of food consumer behaviour and relevant consumer segments
  • Reflect scientifically on consumer issues (e.g. health, sustainability, ethics) and their drive towards innovative food supply
  • Explain the role of food and nutrition policy in food-related consumer decision making
  • Understand and explain the design, testing and implementation of a questionnaire based consumer survey
  • Indicate the appropriate methods for consumer survey data analysis (descriptive and inferential statistics)
  • Know hedonic evaluation of foods applying affective scales
  • Understand the role of food marketing on consumer decision making.



  • Able to apply relevant consumer behaviour theories around food issues in the formulation, design of questionnaires and in planning data analysis
  • Able to design consumer research taking in to account GDPR, sustainablity, health and ethical considerations
  • Able to administer questionnaires and collect consumer data using IT platforms
  • Able to apply principles of experimental design and statistical evaluation of consumer information
  • Able to profile consumer segments by e.g. their socio-economic status, their attitudes, values, knowledge, hedonic responses to foods, liking of food products, etc.
  • Able to use affective scales for the evaluation of foods and meals by consumers
  • Able to use consumer research to support marketing strategies in food companies
  • Communicate research results in scientific writing.



  • Students will be able to provide evidence-based advice to the food sector, the public sector and the societal actors regarding the relevant consumer segments
  • Students will be able to study consumer behaviour in relation to food, taking into account individual characteristics
  • Students will be able to handle data following national and international ethical and GDPR standards
  • Students should be able to collaborate and contribute effectively in group work.

The course with consists of lectures given by researchers working within the overlapping fields of consumer and sensory sciences, exercises and group work.
Lectures are designed to encourage participation and support active student learning. Theoretical concepts and methods are taught in the lectures, and examples of food consumer research will be illustrated with most recent peer-reviewed publications. Problem-based learning approach will be implemented to enable students to apply the knowledge, skills and competences of the course in solving a specific practical challenge.

See Absalon for a list of course literature.


It is recommended to have basic statistical knowledge and to be acquainted with R software.
It is recommended to have understanding of the determinants of food intake and food choices.
It is recommended to have knowledge about the Sociology of Food and Eating, and of Introduction to Social Science Methods.
Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

For the data analysis in this course you need a laptop and download R and R Studio.

This course shares 80% of the lectures and 100% of the practical work with Food Consumer Research.

Continuous feedback during the course
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours under invigilation
Written assignment, during the course
Type of assessment details
The exam grade comprises of two parts, a challenge document/report and an individual written exam.
The challenge document/report in groups with clear indication of each student's individual contribution (30% of the grade).
The individual written examination, which will be a multiple choice questionnaire (70% of the grade).

Both parts must be passed in order for the student to pass the course.
The course has been selected for ITX exam.
See important information about ITX-exams at Study Information, menu point: Exams -> Exam types and rules -> Written on-site exams (ITX).
All aids allowed

As the exam is an ITX-exam, the University will make computers available to students at the exam. Students are therefore not permitted to bring their own computers, tablets, calculators, or mobile phones.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 74
  • Exercises
  • 20
  • E-Learning
  • 2
  • Project work
  • 62
  • Guidance
  • 4
  • Exam
  • 2
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 4
No limitation
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Food, Human Nutrition and Sports
Contracting department
  • Department of Food Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Helene Christine Reinbach   (15-706d746d766d367a6d71766a696b70486e77776c36737d366c73)
  • Bodil Helene Allesen-Holm   (4-696f686f476d76766b35727c356b72)
    (Course coordinator)
Saved on the 10-11-2022

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