AERD40100 Economics of Food Markets and Business Behaviour

Academic Year 2023/2024

This course is concerned with the economic principles underlying the food system and food businesses within a global context. It examines the economics of all parts of the food system along the supply chain, from input supply, through production and manufacturing to retail and the consumer. It examines supply and demand relationships; market structures (including the existence of oligopolies and oligopsonies); the strategies that businesses follow (e.g. diversification, vertical and horizontal integration; and the government policies and their implications to markets and business practices. It also considers the economics of international trade and the implications for domestic food businesses of a more liberal world trading system.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to

1. Understand trends and developments in European and global food markets including the role of international trade.
2. Understand how economic forces influence these trends and developments.
3. Apply basic economic reasoning to issues within the food system and understand the analytical procedures relevant to the sector.

Indicative Module Content:

1. Discuss the economic principles of consumer behaviour
2. Understand the theory behind production decisions
3. Explain market equilibrium under perfect and imperfect competition
4. Explore agricultural and food policies with implications to market and business decisions
5. Understand the implications of international trade for food businesses
6. Critically discuss the challenges, opportunities, and competitiveness of the Irish food industry

Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Individual assignments, group projects, and quiz. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

1. Grading strategies and criteria will be communicated to the students before the assessments. 2. Grades to individual assignments will be available to students post-assessment. 3. Feedback to group assessments will be given either verbally or in written post-assessment. 4. Peer review for group projects may be used when applicable.

Main Textbook:
Penson et al (2015). Introduction to Agricultural Economics, Pearson.

Additional readings will be assigned during the course.Penson et al (2015). Introduction to Agricultural Economics, Pearson.

Recommended reading (optional)
Dorfman, Jeffrey (2014). Economics and Management of the Food Industry, Routledge.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Tues 14:00 - 16:50

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