Food consumption analysis
Learning outcomes of the course unit
At the end of the course, the student must (1) have acquired the main knowledge and skills on the concepts of social and behavioral sciences applied to consumer study; (2) have developed critical skills in which the theoretical aspects addressed in the lessons is applied to the analysis of food case studies; (3) have acquired the basic principles and procedures to develop, conduct and analyze / interpret, independently, qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys in order to identify the main determinants of consumer choices.
In particular, one of the aim is also to develop the skills relating to the most common statistical analysis procedures useful for consumer research, using Excel spreadsheets.
Propaedeutic courses are not formally required, but students should have a minimum knowledge of statistics (mean, median, standard deviation) and of the foundations of marketing.
Course contents summary
Students will have to consider the relationship between consumers and food and how the theories and methods of social and behavioral economic sciences can provide useful tools for understanding and addressing consumer analysis.
The course will include the discussion of relevant and recent qualitative and quantitative studies, at national and international level, regarding the understanding of consumer food choices, including sensory evaluation.
• A Brief overview of the foundations of marketing; Market-oriented
• Environment and market segmentation;
• Needs and motivations;
• The marketing information systems and intro to marketing research;
• Critical reading, critical thinking; bibliography research, secondary data, review;
• Principal methods and techniques of qualitative research (survey development, sampling, analysis and data interpretation);
• Principal methods and techniques of quantitative research (survey format, dependent and independent variables, sampling, measures, analysis and data interpretation);
• Intro to sensory evaluation applied to consumer research
The case studies, provided as in-depth reading and discussed in class, will mainly focus on the evolution of consumption in the food sector, the segmentation of demand, the launch of a new product and the recent market. In particular, the case studies will focus on environmental and social sustainability, animal welfare, the relationship between diet and health, novel foods, alternative proteins, geographical indications, etc.
Mandatory reading material:
• The slides and other materials (audio and video) presented and discussed in the classroom will be uploaded to the Elly platform.
• Scientific articles and book chapters presented and discussed in the classroom will be uploaded to the Elly platform, when permitted by copyright.
• Lecture notes
Suggested reading material:
Suggested books will be recommended by the instructor during the lessons.
Lessons will be organized face-to-face with the possibility of using the lessons also remotely in synchronous (via Teams).
The teaching will be carried out through lectures in the classroom with the help of slides that will represent teaching material, in addition to the recommended text. The slides will be available online on the website https://elly.saf.unipr.it/2020/ in pdf format.
The course alternates a set of lectures covering theoretical concepts to in-class presentations and discussions of case studies. During the lesson, the instructor will dedicate some time, when possible, to activities aimed at increasing critical and reflective thinking, discussion, and problem-solving skills.
Webinars with company testimonials / consumer research experts will also be scheduled.
Assessment methods and criteria
The final grade will be determined considering both the evaluation of a project work (critical discussion) and an individual test (written test). The knowledge to be evaluated concerns the whole program, with particular attention to 1) understanding the theoretical aspects of the analysis of consumer behavior and 2) the ability to process the knowledge acquired during the course into to concrete food cases, (3) ability to argue with the use of appropriate and specific terms the analysis of proposed case studies.
The project work, presented with an oral presentation (with the support of PowerPoint), must be sent to the instructor at least three days before the exam.
More detailed information will be provided during the course.
The evaluation of the project work will be based on:
1) Coherence between the theoretical aspects, the proposed research plan and its implementation.
2) Strength and extent of the analysis (ability to stress the relevant points and address the specific questions).
3) Skills to link multidisciplinary topics and develop knowhow
4) Communication skills (clarity and effectiveness of the presentation).
5) Ability to generate discussion.
The final grade, will correspond to the arithmetic average of both assessments obtained expressed out of thirty.
The honors are awarded to those students who fully comply with the requirements. In addition, they have to demonstrate a systematic knowledge of the topic, an excellent ability to apply the acquired knowledge, autonomy of judgment, as well as particular care in the formal drafting of the paper.