Globalization and Sustainability of Food Production and Consumption


About this course

This course allows students to acquire in-depth understanding of recent changes in food provision, their consequences and possible responses. Introduced concepts include globalization and regionalization, global flows of goods, food and values, agro-food networks. Illustrated with concrete cases the transition from supply-side (productivist) to demand-side (consumption) orientation in food provision and the shifting patterns of production and consumption are discussed, as well as the growing importance of consumption styles and consumer concerns in attributing new values to food.
The recent consumer involvement is highlighted by looking at the growing attention for environmental aspects of food, food risks and consumer trust. Finally, the globalization of trade and regulatory regimes and the increasing attention to (tools for) monitoring, certification and labelling, are discussed. In order to provide additional clarification on the role of alternative supply chains, a field visit is included.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Explain the basic concepts for analysing contemporary modes of producing and consuming food, including globalization, sustainability, food regimes, (global) food networks, food cultures
  • Appraise the contradictory shifts in contemporary food provisioning with respect to the wider societal changes of globalization and promotion of sustainability and in particular the global - local dynamics
  • Apply the basic concepts when explaining trends in contemporary food provision, including the shifting roles of producers and consumers, the emergence of environmental regimes, the introduction of eco-labels, shifting diets, and the growth in alternative, local food supply systems and urban agriculture
  • Assess concrete proposals put forward to solve the sustainability problems resulting from the globalization of food and thereby distinguish intended from unintended consequences
  • Analyse and appraise scientific articles that represent contradictory positions in present debates on globalization and sustainability in food production and consumption

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
Basic sociological theory.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    10 February 2025

    • Ends
      7 March 2025
    • Term *
      Period 4
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 12 Jan 2025
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University