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Consumer Studies and Management Programme in Ireland

After the stay in Wageningen and a short Christmas/New Year break, students will move to University College Cork in Ireland. During January-February they will attend the following courses in Consumer Studies and Management:

All courses can be found in the Study Handbook of Wageningen University.

* Course content may change; this information provides a sense of material covered

Sensory Analysis, Flavour and Colour

This module gives basic information about sensory practice, the relation with new product development and the relation with rheological measurements. Subject material includes colour pigments in foods; artificial colours; measurement of colour using instruments; colour perception; non-volatile and volatile flavour composition of foods; measurement of flavour using instruments; flavour perception; rheology, structure and texture perception; and interactions between colour, flavour and texture.

The course includes practical work, on which a report needs to be written. The students will experience sensory testing themselves.

At the end of this course the student will be able to:

  • Define sensory analysis as the scientific measurement of the attributes of a product perceived by the senses (sight, sound, smell, taste touch); discuss the problems associated with informal sensory sessions and explain why formalized sensory methodology should be used
  • Explain how we use our senses to assess sensory attributes; describe how, and in what order, appearance, odour/aroma/fragrance (orthonasal), consistency/texture and flavour (retro-nasal aroma and taste) attributes are perceived; describe the taste system and the olfactory systems in detail; recognise the inherent variability in human perception and judgment, resulting from differences in sensitivity between people
  • Distinguish between the three main areas of sensory methodology (discrimination tests; descriptive analysis; preference or hedonics tests); describe procedures used in design of sensory experiments and in collection and analysis of sensory data; apply principles of good practice when conducting laboratory experiments for the sensory evaluation of foods
  • Describe how sensory methods are used to guide new product development
  • Use magnitude estimation to obtain quantitative correlations between objective and perceived intensities of sensory stimuli, and describe how it has been applied in relating the rheology of thickened and gelled samples to perceived texture and flavour/taste release

Consumer Behaviour in Food Markets

An examination of consumer decision-making processes in various food markets, this includes identification of situational and group influencers, product attributes sought and cues used to inform a consumer’s purchase decision. Consumer attitude and behaviour towards food products will be studied and the influence on the decision-making process will also be examined. Case studies will be used to illustrate such behaviour for specific food products and highlight appropriate marketing strategies for food firms.

A seminar approach will be taken. Students will be given the task of reviewing a topic. Students will report on this review during a one-hour presentation on the topic; this is then followed by discussion and conclusions.

At the end of this course the student will be able to:

  • Understand consumer behaviour in food markets
  • Analyse the factors influencing food choice
  • Understand the implications of consumer behaviour for the food supply chain


Advanced Food Business Management

This course is closely linked to the Team Project. The approach includes an on-line training in project management and its application in exercises preparing for project planning and organisation.

The lectures address themes relevant for Operations Management and Supply Chain Management, thus providing a deeper understanding of the challenges a company may face and decisions to be taken by food companies.


At the end of the course the student will be able to:

  • describe evolution of managerial theory and critically assess its usefulness in today’s business environment;
  • examine evolution of approaches to continuous improvement and examine how this progression informs our understanding of operations management;
  • employ best practice project management tools;
  • consider the challenges a company may face when adopting a supply chain management approach;
  • identify the main elements of a supply chain management framework and evaluate key decisions that a food firm must make if they are to contribute to an efficient and responsive supply chain.


Food Retail Marketing and Supply Chain Management

This module examines interrelationships between the various agents in the supply chain. It assesses how marketing strategies at retail level influence and are influenced by decisions made elsewhere in the food supply chain. Topics addressed will include efficient consumer response, retail branding and category management.

At the end of this course the student will be able to:

  • Explain the interplay between food supply chain management and retail marketing
  • Explain how customers shop
  • Evaluate store layout, product merchandising and assortment using category management principles
  • Complete a category management plan
  • Evaluate retailers, brand and market positioning strategies
  • Explain the sources of retailer power in the supply chain