• EIT Logo
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • EU Flag

Introduction to Food Science

Discover the fascinating world of food science and feel empowered to make safe, healthy, and sustainable food choices.

3,399 enrolled on this course

Introduction to Food Science
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Discover topics like food sustainability, integrity, ethics, and constituents

Please note this course runs without facilitation

Food and health information is often oversimplified by the media, and recommendations can be inaccurately reported and contradictory to current recommendations.

By understanding and learning more about what’s in our food, we can make smarter, more sustainable, and healthier food choices.

On this course, you’ll access trustworthy information on the food system from food industry experts.

You’ll cover topics like food contaminants, food safety, ethical issues, and food sustainability considerations so that you can become a responsible partner in the food system.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds The integrity of food is of increasing concern due to a number of highly-publicised food authenticity and contamination scares. In addition, there is currently 3.5 billion people suffering from malnutrition, whilst the worldwide numbers of overweight and obese people is growing. There is an increasing need for consumers to make smart, sustainable, and healthy food choices. But we can be exposed to oversimplified, contradictory, and inaccurately-recorded information published across a range of media sources making it difficult to make informed food choices.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds EIT Food in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast, Aarhus University, University of Turin, University of Madrid, and the Spanish National Research Council have designed a free, online course, an introduction to food science, which will provide reliable and trustworthy information from academia and experts working in the food sector. Through videos, activities, and quizzes, the course will create an awareness and understanding of the food system and empower citizens to make safe, healthy, and sustainable food choices. The course will cover topics including food contaminants, control of food safety, ethical issues and sustainability considerations, and consumer information and responsibilities.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds As a result, learners can become responsible partners in the food system, overcome their concerns and create trust in food production, and spark a new generation of informed consumers. The course is for all consumers and citizens who are interested in food and for the curious minds who are looking for reliable information on diet and health, food quality, safety, and authenticity, and ethical and sustainability considerations. In particular, the course will provide a fantastic source of revision material for 16 to 18-year-old students undertaking a subject related to food. Enrol now for free on FutureLearn.


  • Week 1

    Diet and Health

    • Welcome to the course

      Find out about what you will be learning, who will be guiding you and how the course is taught.

    • Food Constituents

      Food is vital for optimal health and wellbeing. In this section we will explore both macronutrients and micronutrients and their role in the diet.

    • Diet and Health

      Diet has a profound impact on human health. In the past decades, the global shift of dietary habits towards the so-called Western diet has been linked to a high prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases.

    • Functional Foods

      Functional foods are foods that provides beneficial effects to human health beyond the normal nutritional effects.

    • Summary

      To end the first week we have a quiz for you to complete and some final reflections on diet and health.

  • Week 2

    Ethical and Sustainability Considerations

    • Week 2

      Hello and welcome to week 2 of the course. This week we will explore ethical and sustainability issues related to the food system.

    • Food Production

      Food systems depend on natural resources like water, soil, land, minerals and fossil fuels. It is important to ensure food is produced sustainability without jepordaising the environment for future generations.

    • Food Security

      Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.

    • Food and Critical Consumption

      Eating is an activity in which we engage in every day. Making food choices puts consumers in an active role when it comes to consumption and ethical considerations.

    • Review and Reflect

      This week we have explored the issues related to ethical and sustainable food production.

  • Week 3

    Food Integrity

    • Welcome to Week 3!

      Hello and welcome to week 3. This week we will explore the quality, safety and authenticiy of food. We hope you enjoy!

    • Food Safety

      Food safety is a scientific discipline describing the handling, preparation and storage of food in ways that prevent food borne illness. A food safety hazard is any biological, chemical or physical agent that could cause illness.

    • Food Quality

      The term food quality represents the sum of all properties and attributes of a food item that are acceptable to the customer.

    • Food Authenticity

      The food sector plays a significant direct role in human well-being through the provision of authentic food fit for human consumption. We will take a closer look at food fraud is defined as an intentional act for economic gain.

    • Review and Reflect

      This week we have explored the issues related to food quality, safety and authenticity. It is now time to reflect on what you have learnt.

  • Week 4

    The role of the consumer

    • Welcome to Week 4

      Welcome to week 4. This week we will explore the role of the consumer in making safe, sustainable and healthy food choices.

    • Responsible Food Choices

      The food that we eat and the way we produce it will determine the healthy of the people and the planet. It is possible to feed a growing population but only if we transform our dietary patterns and food choices by 2050.

    • Barriers to responsible food choices

      A drastic reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions is possible with a simple change in everyone’s eating habits. Here we explore the barriers to making responsible and sustainable decisions during buying and consuming food.

    • Ultra Processed Foods and Consumer Perceptions

      The group, “ultra-processed foods” is defined as formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusively industrial use, typically created by series of industrial techniques and processes. We explore consumers perceptions of them.

    • Review and Reflect

      Congratualtions you have reached the end of the course. This week you have looked at the role of the consumer in making safe, healthy and sustainable food choices. It is now time to reflect on what you have learnt.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

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

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the term food integrity
  • Explore ethical and sustainability issues surrounding food production
  • Assess how the consumer is protected by legislation
  • Explain how food can become contaminated by biological, chemical or physical hazards
  • Identify the role of the consumer in ensuring food safety and becoming change agents in the transition towards a smart, inclusive and trusted food system
  • Reflect on the work organisations are doing in relation to food safety e.g. EFSA

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in food and looking for reliable information on how to make safer, healthier and more sustainable food choices.

It will be particularly useful for final year schools students undertaking a food-related subject or interested in food science as a potential career pathway.

The Educators won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. The learning is focused around debate and discussion – supporting other learners, sharing your own experience and knowledge, and listening to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way.

Who will you learn with?

Michaela is a Lecturer in Education working on the development of EITFOOD education programmes. Her background is in food science and research at the Institute for Global Food Security.

Teresa is the EIT Food Education Programs Manager at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
She did a PhD in Agrochemistry and is now working at the Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL, UAM-CSIC).

Researcher at the Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL, CSIC). Interested on biological activity of foods in different physiological and pathological conditions, and on gut microbiota.

I studied process engineering and I have a PhD in food technology. I currently work as Postdoc at Aarhus University. I am interested in processing-structure-function interrelations of food ingredients

Carolina Simó, Ph.D., is
a researcher at the Institute of
Food Science Research (CIAL-CSIC).
She is specialized Omics
Technologies in Food Science (ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7140-0795).

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast is a member of the Russell Group of 24 leading UK research-intensive universities.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial skills in Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem.

Endorsers and supporters

content provided by

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid logo

content provided by


content provided by

University of Turin logo

Ways to learn

Upgrade this course


Basic access

Choose the best way to learn for you!



Billed at $189.99 for a year


Unlock your expertiseEndless possibilities!Try before you upgrade
Access to this courseticktickLimited to 6 weeks
Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a yearcrosstickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Join and Upgrade

Ways to learn

Buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year or Upgrade just this course for extra benefits. Or, join with basic access.



Billed at $189.99 for a year

Endless possibilities!

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a year
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Upgrade this course


Unlock your expertise

  • All of the above* for this course only, plus a printed certificate when you’re eligible

*Excludes access to all eligible short courses with additional benefits for a year

Basic access


Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 6 weeks

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

Sale price available until 6 December 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

Sale price available until 6 December 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...