Welcome to AGEC 4990 (66532) / FDSC 4900

Section 1—The skillet and the senses. Our taste in food is not just determined by chemical reactions between food and our taste buds. Food preferences are driven by our genes and the chemical composition of food, but also our environmental and mental processes. That is, preferences arise from mental, not physical processes. The first section of the course will be devoted to studying this complex process, with the main objective being a better understanding of what drives food preferences and how food companies approach the complex task of determining what consumers want. By meeting at various food establishments, talking to their owners, performing our own taste–test experiments, and studying various materials, students will obtain knowledge equivalent to spending years in the food industry.

  • 8/21—first day of class. Dr. Myriah Johnson from the Noble Research Institute (NRI) will come to speak about NRI’s sustainability project with McDonald’’s—a real project you will contribute to for your class project. This project will involve implementing a real survey to 1,000 Americans in November, the results of which you will analyze and present to Dr. Johnson as your final exam.
  • 8/23—Class will be held at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
    • The duo–trio discrimination test, a chat with the owner, and discussion of readings.
    • Summary of Foreword and Amuse Bouche from Gastrophysics due. See Summaries tab to the left about directions for writing summaries.
    • Summary of the Planet Money podcast episode Salmon Taboo is due.
    • Your completed Student Info Sheet is due.
  • 8/28—Class will be held at the Simplicity and Co. shop.
    • Hedonic scales, face scales, and just–aboutt–right scales; a chat with the owner; and discussion of readings.
    • Summary of Chapters 1 & 2 from Gastrophysics due.
    • Summary of the Gastropod podcast episode It’s Tea Time is due.
    • Bring the results of your fudge duo–trio taste–test
  • 8/30—Class will be held at Iron Monk brewery.
    • Semantic differential scales and likert scales; a chat with the owner; and discussion of readings.
    • Summary of Chapters 3 & 4 from Gastrophysics due.
    • Summary of the Planet Money podcast episode Can you patent a steak? is due.
  • 9/4—University holiday.
  • 9/6—Class will be held at 1907 Meat Company.
    • willingness–to–pay; a chat with the owner; and discussion of readings.
    • Summary of Chapters 5 & 6 from Gastrophysics due.
    • Summary of Revisionist History episode McDonalds Broke My Heart is due.
  • 9/11—Class will be held at Orange Leaf.
    • The triangle discrimination test, a A chat with the owner, and discussion of readings.
    • Give take–home exam.
    • Summary of Chapters 6 & 7 from Gastrophysics due.
    • Summary of the Gastropod podcast episode Peanuts: Peril and Promise is due.
  • 9/13—Carrie Garner from Tyson Foods will come to class to discuss their research and development program for kids k-12.

Section 2—Focus Groups and Surveys

  • September 18—Begin studying focus groups.
  • September 20—Class notes on Focus Groups
    • Exam 1 due at the beginning of class.
    • Summary of article Choosing Foods is sue.
    • Summary of the StartUp podcast episode Bug Business is due.
  • September 25—Mock focus groups concerning McDonalds sustainability project Notice that team assignments for class project are posted.
  • September 27—Class notes on Surveys
  • October 2—Study previous FooDS Surveys
  • October 4—Begin constructing survey ideas for class project. Today we will begin learning how to analyze sensory data, focusing today on making histograms from hedonic scores. With my help, you will begin completing this worksheet using these data . These are data collected from this study.
  • October 7 (Saturday) 5 - 7 PM—Mandatory, educational party at Dr. Norwood’s house. Joining us with be Bob Brown, Food Industry Consultant, who will discuss how to communicate effectively in a business setting. Norwood will provide the food but students must do the cooking.
  • October 9—Work on surveys for class project For today, I want you to repeat what you did in last class, but using the data where the Kanza and Pawnee pecans are cut in half. After you have done this, you will have one table for all whole pecans, and one table for where two pecan types are cut in half. We will then begin making attractive histograms.
         Notice I posted on the Grades tab your numerical grade in the class thus far.
         I will chat with Team A about their survey questions.
         Team B: I want a really good set of questions by the beginning of class on Wednesday.
         Team A: I want a really good set of questions by the beginning of class on Monday.
  • October 11—Analzying data from surveys and sensory experiments (bring your laptop if you have one)
         Today you will construct a histogram for one-half of a homework grade. The instructions are here, and the data are here.
  • October 16—Today I would like you to complete this worksheet using these data. I will not be present today, but Dr. Vanoverbeke will, and the worksheet instructs you on how to turn your assignment in. Remember, this chart, along with the chart you created last week, counts as one homework grade.
  • October 18—Today we will complete this worksheet using these data.
  • October 20 (Friday) —First draft of proposed class project surveys due
  • October 23—Exam 2 on focus groups and surveys (open book). For this exam, we will use these data from a previous class (October 9-18). I will ask you to make some type of histogram / bar chart in Excel and to save it as a pdf. Whatever chart I ask for, it will be one you have done in class, or at least one very similar. You will have to email me both the pdf file of the histogram and the Excel spreadsheet used to perform the calculations by 3:45 that day. If you get stuck during the exam and need to overcome an obstacle to complete your chart, you can ask me for help and I will help you. I will count off some points for helping you, but I will try to be fair, so there is no need to let an obstacle prevent you from completing the assignment on time. The best way to study is to simply practice completing the worksheets between October 9 and 18. If you can make those charts, you should done well. Again, the only thing you will be asked to do on Exam 2 is to make one attractive chart correctly summarizing consumer preference data.

    And of course, I will insist on Garamond font throughout.

Section 3—Sensory experiments

  • October 25—Analzying data from surveys and sensory experiments (bring your laptop if you have one)
  • October 30—Sensory experiments and analysis
  • November 1—Sensory experiments and analysis
  • November 3 (Friday) —Final questions for class project surveys are due
  • November 6—Sensory experiments and analysis
  • November 8—Sensory experiments and analysis
  • November 13—Sensory experiments and analysis. Today you will use these data.
  • November 14 (Tuesday) —Survey data will be available for download
  • November 15—Sensory experiments and analysis
  • November 20—Work on class projects in class
  • November 22—No class, Thanksgiving
  • November 27—Sensory experiments and analysis
  • November 29—Exam 3

Section 4—The final project

  • December 4—Work on class project
  • December 6—Work on class project
  • December 15—Class project / final exam