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Understanding Food Labels

Learn how to interpret food labels so you can make informed food choices and buy food that supports your health and wellbeing.

2,847 enrolled on this course

Understanding Food Labels
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info
The CPD Certification Service

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

Get the facts you need to put your trust in the food system

Huge amounts of information are provided on food product labels, but surveys have shown that we’re often unsure of its meaning.

On this course, you’ll learn how to make sense of the regulations, data, and logos on packaging so that you can make more informed food choices.

You’ll become more aware of what’s in the food you’re buying, the reference intakes for different people, and the nutritional value and environmental sustainability of different foods.

You’ll also gain a better understanding of food labelling regulations, as well as the claims food producers are allowed to make.

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What topics will you cover?

• How to navigate a typical food label - become familiar with the categories of information labels contain and why they are important.

• The limitations of food labels - what they don’t tell you.

• Decoding ingredients lists and discovering your recommended daily allowances.

• Differentiating between trustworthy health claims and those inspired by marketeers.

• How to resist the power of branding and gather reliable information to base your buying decisions on.

• The complexities of labelling food according to production values such as sustainability and animal welfare.

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...

  • Interpret a typical food label - be familiar with the categories of information labels contain and why they are important.
  • Explore ingredients lists and discover your recommended daily allowances.
  • Compare trustworthy health claims and those inspired by marketeers.
  • Collect reliable information to base your buying decisions on.
  • Assess the complexities of labelling food according to production values such as sustainability and animal welfare.
  • Reflect on the limitations of food labels - what they don't tell you.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who makes food purchasing choices and wants to learn more about what goes into their food, the health benefits of what they eat and the sustainability of how it’s produced.

What do people say about this course?

Greatcourse!

"It was good to have access to the science behind the various labels, logos and regulations."

Who will you learn with?

I am a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading. I am a food scientist interested in developing new healthy and sustainable foods.

I’m a PostDoc at Aarhus University in Denmark. My main interest is in research on consumer behaviour towards food. I focus on food labelling, food choice and sustainable behaviour.

I’m a food engineer involved in EIT Food projects working in the School of Agriculture, Policy & Development at the University of Reading. I’ve experience working in industry-academia collaborations.

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.

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.

Supporters

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Learning on FutureLearn

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  • 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

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  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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