FBMUCB-Understanding and Influencing Consumer Behaviour

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 5 [2.5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Lisa Methven

Email: L.Methven@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Delivered using a three 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. The distance learning will provide lectures, background information and directed reading in preparation for a campus-based workshop of 3 consecutive, intensive days of seminars, tutorials and practical sessions delivered by academic members of teaching and research staff from the 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.

  • Critically evaluate the needs and motivation of consumers when making food choices

  • Discuss consumer liking of and attitudes towards food

  • Compare the key factors shaping food choices and consumption

  • Explain 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 and background knowledge for this topic to 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 the 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:

The module will be taught using 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. Assessments will be carried out within and following the time spent on campus, supported by distance learning.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
Guided independent study:      
    Other 20
    Preparation for presentations 5
    Revision and preparation 2
    Group study tasks 3
Total hours by term 50 0 0
Total hours for module 50

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Oral assessment and presentation 60
Set exercise 20
Class test administered by School 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Blackboard Multiple Choice test – 2 x 10% each

Two multiple choice tests related to the distance learning material via Blackboard to be completed prior to the start of the campus workshop


Data Exercise and presentation – 20%

Introductory exercise on data handling and preparation of a presentation for submission prior to the start of the workshop. The presentation of results will take place during the first day of the workshop


Group Assignment – 60%

Oral presentation delivered during the workshop based on the skills acquired through the distance learning and the workshop

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50% overall in all assessed work.

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of failed coursework assignments or equivalent pieces of work.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 27 September 2019


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