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Innovation towards plant-based consumption - 2021
Provider: Faculty of Science

Activity no.: 5323-21-04-31 
Enrollment deadline: 01/04/2021
Date and timeApril 2021
Regular seats22
Activity Prices:
  - Industry/For-profit4,000.00 kr.
  - PhD student (Open Market Agreement, Nova, VLAG)0.00 kr.
  - University staff/Non-profit1,000.00 kr.
ECTS credits5.00
Contact personHenriette Hansen    E-mail address: henha@food.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserArmando Perez-Cueto    E-mail address: apce@food.ku.dk
Exam requirements
Exam formCourse Participation; Written Assignment
Exam detailsEvaluation of reflection paper, graded with pass/not pass.
Grading scalePassed / Not passed
Course workload
Course workload categoryHours
Course Preparation40.00
Independent work45.00


There is now a new emerging market for innovation: the market for healthy and sustainable foods and plant-based products. Consumers from different segments are interested in acquiring foods that make a difference. There is a new demand appearing, particularly for plant-based products. According to the most recent report by Supermarket chain COOP, in 2017 8.2% of Danes (about 465,000 people) halved their meat consumption, a growth from barely 3,8% in 2010, and about 20% of their customers practice at least one “meat-free” day every week. There is hence a growth in the demand for plant-based foods.

The demand for plant-based foods has increased exponentially in the past few years. As a strong signal to the market, large companies (Nestlé, Danone, Orkla) are acquiring or developing a “sustainable” branch. It is therefore possible to assume that others will follow within the coming 5 years. The ingredients sector will also have to consider diversification towards plant-based ingredients (e.g. proteins) due to the demand by emerging consumer groups like vegans and flexitarians. And last, but not least, the huge EU food sector will have to address specifically the effect of social media on consumer trust,

According to FoodNavigator, the number of flexitarians is rising (those who choose to eat less meat mainly for sustainability reasons), calling for alternative proteins. Plant-based proteins (soy, pulses, etc.) and insects are now hot topics in product development. The same source suggests that according to www.visiongain.com the meat substitutes market reached a value of 3.57 billion Euros in 2016 . Even some former meat companies are making now vegetarian food.

Therefore, this course is timely since it touches a hot topic, which is relevant to society, industry and consumers in general. It is relevant to the field of Food Science in that it brings forth the current commitments towards healthier and more sustainable food systems and will constitute a platform for UCPH participation and contribution to shaping the food scene in Denmark and EU. This course is inscribed in the strategy Gastronomy 2025 of the Danish Ministry of Food & Environment, and the EU FOOD 2030 Agenda.

Focus is on the following thematic areas:

Plant-based diets and their health outcomes. Data from longitudinal studies will be presented and discussed. Special focus will be given to the implications for policy, innovation, the environment and consumers of the most recent findings in favour of plant-based dietary choices.

Plant-based and sustainability: Focus will be given to the role of dietary choices on the environment and on interventions to promote more sustainable food choices.

Plant-based and consumers: Demand of new products and concepts by growing segments of vegan, flexitarian and plant-based consumers. As the demand for plant-based foods grows, supply by the private sector should follow. Understanding consumers and their current attitudes, preferences and values is key for effective product innovation, healthy and sustainable eating promotion and for sustained behavioural changes.

Plant-based and innovation: Gastronomy and innovation towards plant-based foods on the grounds of sensory characteristics, but also taking into account cultural aspects, local produce and consumer demand. Specific processes at gastronomy lab and in the design of dishes will be presented.

Plant-based and technology: State of the art processing of plant-based proteins and additional plant-based ingredients for a new generation of food products.

Field visits: To better understand the current market environment and market actors dealing with the promotion of plant based foods, but also the retail sector responding to a growing demand for such products. A detailed programme can be obtained from the course organiser.PLEASE NOTE: Field visits are cancelled during 2021 as the course will be held on-line due to the corona crisis.

Learning outcome

• The role of plant-based diets in the prevention of chronic disease, the evidence from cohort studies
• Consumers segments and plant-based food consumption (vegetarians, flexitarians, vegans and omnivores)
• Innovation in plant-based foods
• State of art in plant-based foods processing
• The retail sector challenges towards plant based products
• The citizen organisations and promotion of plant based diets


• Able to develop consumer data collection and analysis
• Able to provide a written essay on the relevance of the topic for own PhD research, use of scientific publications as evidence and overall reflection on the course


• Able to understand and apply scientific literature as evidence base for action at policy, consumer and innovation levels
• Able to reflect on the importance of gastronomy and innovation as drivers for plant-based eating

Teaching and learning methods
Combined pre-course preparation and reading, confrontation (lectures and workshops), and final reflection paper.

PLEASE NOTE: The course will be held on-line due to the corona crisis.

40 hours: confrontation/workshops
40 hours: preparation
45 hours: writing of reflection and literature review

125 hours in total


Reading material will be provided. Students are expected to be aware/acquainted with existing cohort studies like PREDIMED, Adeventist Studies I & II, Nurses Health Study, EPIC, EPIC-Panacea, etc. Students should read the material prior to the course and participate actively in the discussions, plenary sessions and workshops. Students should reflect on the relevance of the subject to their own PhD research, shape their literature study and match with the contents of the course. Students should reflect on whether the contents of the course have changed their own attitudes and approach to the issue of plant-based eating.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions preventing on-campus teaching, the course is on-line (Zoom or Teams).

The fee will depend on the affiliation of the participants as follows:

PhD students 0 DKK

Other university staff/Non-profit 1,000 DKK

Industry/For-profit 4,000 DKK

Full payment should be made also if only parts of the course are followed.

Payment of the fee must be done before the course starts. You will receive a link for payment after you have been accepted into the course, but not sooner than mid-March 2021.

Admission to the course takes place upon application. Please express your interest by clicking on “Apply” and you will be contacted as soon as possible with information whether you are enrolled and link for payment will be forwarded in that case.

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