Course provided by Future Learn

Study type: Online

Starts: Anytime

Price: Free


Learn how to assess the reliability of different sources of food information

Consumers have never been confronted with so much food choice. Making a decision on what food to eat is affected by many factors, including media reports, diet research findings, and social media.

On this course, you’ll access leading research and expert insights to make sense of some of the most common food controversies – alternative proteins, palm oil, and probiotics.

You’ll understand the viewpoints of stakeholders and reflect on your own food preferences. By improving your knowledge of these food debates, you’ll build the confidence to make more informed decisions about food.

What topics will you cover?

Each week focuses on one controversy, explains what it is and how it is understood by differently situated stakeholders in the food sector. Learners are encouraged (as consumers) to take a critical stance on the different perspectives held by different stakeholders and adjust their practice accordingly.

Week 1: Introduction and Alternative Proteins

  • What do we mean by the term ‘controversies’?
  • Assessing the reliability of different sources of information.
  • Overview of alternative proteins (especially insects as protein for human consumption).
  • The pros and cons of alternative proteins and why they’re needed.

Week 2: Palm oil in food and related products

  • Discover the wide variety of products palm oil is found in.
  • Understand the issues at stake, from the perspectives of nutrition, the environment and worker welfare.
  • Find out how industry is adapting its practices.

Week 3: The use of probiotics

  • The history of probiotics and their benefits to human health.
  • Learn about the processes involved in probiotic development, from discovery to product certification.
  • Gain confidence in analyzing advertisements and health claims.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone curious about what their food contains, and what this means for their health and the environment. Professionals in the food and environment sectors will find this course useful for providing an up to date analysis of topical debates. Teachers may also find this course a useful resource for their students studying food science subjects.

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, with the aim to create a sustainable and future-proof food sector.

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

This activity has received funding from EIT Food, the innovation community on Food of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the EU, under the Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.