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This content is taken from the EIT Food, University of Reading & European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)'s online course, Understanding Food Labels. Join the course to learn more.
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Welcome to the course

Welcome to ‘Understanding food labels’, a European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food online course produced by the University of Reading and Aarhus University.

Why this course?

The information on the labels of the food products we buy is tightly regulated by the EU but do we understand what it’s telling us? Studies show that many of us don’t. But in the case of labels, information really is power - power to purchase food that’s been produced according to our values and that we feel confident is good for us and our families. This course examines each element of a typical food label and explains why it’s there, how the information it contains is regulated and what it tells you about the food you’re eating. We’ll also look at some of the technologies that are changing the way we find out about our food.

  • Week 1: The what, how and why of labels. What the different elements communicate, how effective are food labels and why they’re important.

  • Week 2: What’s in my food and is it good for me? Using labels to take control of what you eat and pursue a healthier diet.

  • Week 3: How can I control the quality of my food and how it’s produced? Seeing past the branding and discovering quality marks that point towards sustainable or local production.

What difference will it make?

By the end of the course you will have created a personalised action plan that will help you make changes in the way you shop with possible consequences for your wallet, your health and the planet.

Who will I learn from?

Meet the Educators who have contributed to the development of this course:

Simona Grasso

Violeta Stancu

Natalia Mansilla

We’d also like to thank Isabel Hoffman from TellSpec - who have provided content for the course.

The first three weeks of this course will be facilitated by the Educators and Mentors, who’ll be on hand to help support the discussions found at the end of most Steps and enhance your learning experience.

Agnese Rondoni

Sabrina Spartano

Lisa Stickel

Agnese, Sabrina and Lisa also contributed content for the course for which we are very grateful.

You may like to follow their activity in the discussions; to do this you just need to view their profile and click the ‘Follow’ button. You will recognise them by ‘Educator’ or ‘Mentor’ appearing next to their name in the comments and discussion areas. By following a profile, any comments made will appear in your activity feed, which you can filter by selecting ‘Following’. Please note, the team will do their best to answer as many questions as they can but they will not be able to respond to them all.

Top tips

If you’re new to the FutureLearn platform, here are some tips you may find useful to help you prepare:

  • Take a look ahead to see what is coming up in the following Weeks.

  • Each video also has a transcript which you can read by clicking ‘view transcript’ found underneath each video.

  • As you work through the course, mark each Step as complete to help keep track of your progress.

  • Hold down the shift key when clicking on a web link. This will open the link in a separate window so you don’t lose your page that you’re working through.

  • Look out for any further reading which can be found at the bottom of the Steps under the heading ‘See also’, references and supporting documents listed under ‘Downloads’.

  • Please note: This course includes video content and other visual teaching methods. On some quiz and poll questions, the information is displayed in an image.

If you have any questions about how the site works, you may find FutureLearn’s start guide and FAQ pages helpful.


Thank you for joining us on this course. Please share your reasons for joining in the discussion area below. We look forward to hearing from you as the course progresses.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Food Labels

EIT Food

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: