Economics and psychology of food consumptions

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
AGR/01 M-PSI/01
Learning objectives
The course proposes two groups of objectives developed within the two modules in which it is structured.
Economics of food consumption: knowing the main elements of economic theory for the analysis of the agri-food market, knowing how the agri-food supply chains are articulated, and knowing the policies of public intervention related to the main problems of the food system.
Psychology of food consumption: knowing the individual and symbolic factors that influence consumer actions in order to be able to predict future behavior, learn about scientific and experimental procedures aimed at studying consumer reactions to different stimuli represented by food products.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will be able to understand and critically examine the main economic problems of the food market and develop analytical skills regarding the main instruments of public intervention, from information policies to taxation policies.
Furthermore, the student will be able to use both traditional (based on questionnaires) and innovative (eye-tracking, neuropsychophysiological surveys, analysis of the emotional expressions of the face) techniques to identify consumer reactions to food products.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Teaching methods: for both modules, teaching will be delivered remotely both synchronously on the basis of the timetable and asynchronously because the lessons will be recorded and left available to students on the Ariel platform or on Microsoft Teams. For the food economics and policy module, the platform used is Adobe Connect, while for the food choice psychology module, the platform used is Microsoft Teams.
The program and the reference material will not change.
For the Economics and Food Policy module, the examination will take place in writing using the Moodle + Safe Exam Browser + webconference mode or, where the regulation allows it, in attendance, always in writing.
For the Psychology of food choices module, the exam will take place orally using the Microsoft Teams platform or, where the regulation allows it, in the presence, in writing.
Prerequisites for admission
No prior knowledge is required
Assessment methods and Criteria
For the module of 'Economic and food policy' the exam consists of a written test that includes both closed-ended and open-ended questions. The part of closed-ended questions aims to evaluate the student's preparation on the main principles of economic theory, while open-ended questions are aimed at ascertaining the knowledge acquired about the characteristics of the sectors that composed the agro-food system and the most important policy tools of the public intervention in the agro-food market. The duration of the test is of 1 hour and the evaluation is expressed in thirtieths.

For the module of 'Psychology of food consumptions' the examination modality, following the emergency situation due to COVID 19, was modified in an oral test, aimed at evaluating the overall preparation of the student on the different parts of the program, and on the articles deepened by the teacher during the lessons and made available on the Ariel platform. The evaluation is expressed in thirtieths, and will average (weighed on the different CFU) with the score obtained in the previous module.

In both cases, the test result is communicated to the student through the Ariel platform. There are no differences in the examination between attending and non-attending students. As for students with DSA and with disabilities, they are requested to contact the Professor via email at least 10 days before the exam date to agree on any individualized measures. In the email addressed to the teacher it is necessary to put the respective University Services in CC: (for students with DSA) and (for students with disabilities). Registration for both modules must take place through the UNIMIA platform.
Economia e politica alimentare
Course syllabus
First part - Analysis of the market: Demand and supply analysis
Consumption theory
Market form and differentiation strategy
Market failure

Second part - the agri-food system
economic analysis of food consumptions;
quality attributes of food products;
economic analysis of food system
recent trends in the agriculture, processing, retailing and catering sectors;
internationalisation and trade of food products;
vertical organisation of food supply chains;
economic issues of word hunger;
economic issues of obesity.

Third part - food policies
food policies and public intervention;
economic issues of nutrition labels;
economic analysis of food safety;
EU policy for food safety;
economic analysis of traceability and effects on chain organisation;
economic analysis of food sustainability and related policy.
Teaching methods
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, teaching is delivered remotely synchronously through the Adobe Connect platform. Teaching attendance is strongly recommended.
Teaching Resources
The slides of the teaching lessons and other references are regularly updated and are available on the Ariel platform.
Psicologia delle scelte alimentari
Course syllabus
First part - Eating behavior and social psychology
The role of contextual factor on food choices;
The attitude-behavior link;
The Expectancy-Value model;
The theory of Planned Behavior;
Heuristics and implicit attitudes.

Second Part - Learning models and the impact of emotions on eating behavior
Classical conditioning and derived models;
Neophobia: what factors influence our tendency to avoid novel food;
The role of emotions and mood on food choices;
Comfort food: what we like and why we like it;
The importance of reward in shaping out preferences.

Third Part - Food, communication and persuasion
The role of advertising on children;
Analysis of the marketing strategies in the context of food and their impact on our choices;
Persuasion and eating behavior;
Using persuasion for good: introduction to food nudging;
Implementation intention: a psychological technique to change behavior.

Fourth Part - Disfunctional eating behavior
Eating behavior during adolescence;
The role of gender and parents on food choices;
Eating disorders: analysis of the antecedents, and how to deal with patients;
Control strategies and eating behavior;
Understanding obesity from a neuroscientific perspective.
Teaching methods
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, teaching is delivered remotely synchronously through the Microsoft Teams platform. Teaching attendance is strongly recommended.
Teaching Resources
- Shepard, R., & Raats, M. (Eds.) (2006). The psychology of food choice (Vol. 3). Cabi.
The slides of the teaching lessons and other references are regularly updated and are available on the Ariel platform.
Economia e politica alimentare
Lessons: 48 hours
Psicologia delle scelte alimentari
M-PSI/01 - GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY - University credits: 5
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Mattavelli Simone