FZCR04-Understanding & influencing consumer behaviour - CPD

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 0 [0 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lisa Methven

Email: L.Methven@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Delivered using a two stage blended model this module will provide an understanding of consumer behaviour and the importance of its understanding in the manufacture and retail of food through five to six weeks of distance learning delivering lectures, background information and directed reading in preparation for a campus-based workshop of 4 consecutive, intensive days of seminars, tutorials and practical sessions delivered by academic members of teaching and research staff from the department of Food & Nutritional Sciences and the wider University of Reading and invited experts in the field from across academia and industry.


The module is designed to develop an understanding of what consumer behaviour is and why this is important to food manufacturers and retailers. Students will develop knowledge of the underlying consumer behaviour mechanisms, and learn how to identify a range of important factors which influence consumer decision making and actual purchase behaviour. In addition they will develop an understanding of the marketing implications of consumer sensory, psychological, socio-cultural and buying behaviour processes.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, learners should be able to:

  • Understand what consumer behaviour is and why it is important to food manufacturers and retailers.

  • Understand the needs and motivation of consumers when making food choices

  • Understand consumer liking of and attitudes towards food

  • Understand the key factors shaping food choices and consumption

  • Understand consumer decision making

  • Profile customers into useful and actionable market segments

  • Understand how policy influences food marketing practices and consumer behaviour

Additional outcomes:

The following transferable skills will be developed in this module:

  • Critical evaluation of data from a variety of sources

  • Effective communication of scientific information in oral and written format with scientific rigour

  • Debating skills

Outline content:

Introductory online material provided via a virtual learning environment (VLE) will describe the key elements of the background knowledge for this topic and prepare students for the campus workshop. Areas of particular focus are:

  • What is consumer behaviour and why understanding consumer behaviour is important to food businesses? What motivates consumers when making food choices?

  • Consumer liking of food including the influence of sensory experience

  • Consumer beliefs, feelings, and attitudes towards food products

  • Psychological and socio- cultural influences shaping food choices and consumption

  • Extrinsic and intrinsic profiling of consumers

  • Consumer decision making

  • Food policy issues

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Problem based learning supported by lectures (delivered via distance learning and face-to-face) together with presentations by invited speakers from different areas of the food industry and experts in the area of consumer behaviour and food marketing. Students will be expected to do background reading around each of the topics covered by the module prior to the campus workshop.

Module Delivery and Contact hours

The module content will be delivered by distance learning and through direct staff contact time. The module will consist of preliminary learning materials delivered over a 5 – 6 week period as distance learning via a virtual learning environment (VLE). This will include a series of short video/audio lectures and directed reading, which will represent 35 hours of student input. This will prepare students for a 4-day intensive on campus workshop that will include 20 hours of academic-led learning and 10 hours of independent and group study.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Tutorials 17
Practicals classes and workshops 3
Guided independent study 45
Total hours by term 65.00
Total hours for module 65.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

There are no summative assessments with this module.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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