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The Economics of Agro-Food Value Chains

Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich) via Coursera


Have a look at our trailer for a brief introduction to this course:

In this course, you learn how the agro-food value chain approaches the challenge of constantly improving its competitiveness by producing high quality food and products and also aiming to attain greater sustainability. Some of the topics of this course are:
• The notion of quality for food and agricultural products and consumer value.
• How to conduct market research in this field.
• Labelling, branding and pricing strategies, as-well as innovation in the agro-food sector.
• How sustainability can be used as a competitive advantage through corporate social responsibility.
• The role and different types of industrial standards.
• The different forms of coordination in the chain, in particular with regard to the retailing and distribution sector.

This course is taught by a group of international experts from Universities in Italy, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands. Each of them will give you insights into a specific topic related to food quality and the organization of the agro-food value chains.


  • Module 1: Introduction
    • This module will give you an introduction and overview of the course. In the second lesson of this module, we will talk about the current challenges and trends in the agro-food value chain. In the third lesson of this module, the concept of quality in the agro-food value chain will be introduced. The module finishes with the fourth lesson, which gives you an overview of the food value chain.
  • Module 2: Quality and Consumers
    • In this module you will learn about the relationship between quality and consumer value. After the module you will be able to describe consumer choices in a differentiated market and explain the link between quality and value. You will also learn about strategies for building consumer value.
  • Module 3: Market Research
    • In Module 3 you will learn about market research. After the module you will know the definition, role and types of market research in addition to the research process and the ethics of market research. In the second lesson of the module you will learn about the different types of data and various methods of data collection. The last lesson of the module then deals with data analysis, where you will learn about the most commonly used statistical and econometric techniques to analyze data.
  • Module 4: Asymmetric Information about Quality
    • In Module 4 you will learn about asymmetric information with regard to food quality. In the first lesson of the module we will introduce the concepts of asymmetric information, adverse selection, moral hazard, and market failure. That way you will be able to explain the role of information for the functioning of a market. In the second lesson we will talk about the product attributes and their classification. After the lesson you will be able to classify product attributes based on when consumers are able to assess their true qualities.
  • Module 5: Food Labeling
    • In Module 5 you will be introduced to “Food Labeling”. In this module you will learn how labels can work as a tool to solve market failures due to asymmetric information and hear about reputation mechanisms based on trust and signaling.
  • Module 6: Pricing Strategies and Implications
    • In Module 6 we will talk about the effect of price as a signal for quality. The module also includes the implication of consumer psychology and quality perceptions on pricing tactics.

      At the end of this module
  • Module 7: Consumer Behavior and Brand Personality
    • In module 7 you will learn about consumer behavior and the dimension and use of brand personalities. In the first lesson you will learn about the consumer's purchasing process. In the 2nd lesson we will talk about consumer characteristics. Finally, you will hear about segmentation, positioning, and brand personality.
  • Module 8: Geographical Indicators
    • This module is about “Geographical Indicators”. After the module you will be able to explain the notion of “Geographical Indication” and the key facts about the protection of GIs in the EU. You will also be able to explain the importance of the GI sector within the EU market.
  • Module 9: Innovation and Quality
    • In this module you will learn about innovation and quality. You will be able to define what is innovation and state the differences between the many types of innovations. You will also be able to explain how innovations are generated and how the drivers and barriers of innovation in the agro-food sector arise.
  • Module 10: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Agro-Food Sector
    • In this module we will talk about “Corporate Social Responsibility in the Agro-food Sector and its Relevance for Food Companies”.
  • Module 11: Coordination in the Agro-food Value Chain
    • In this module you will learn about the coordination continuum, when coordination is profitable and possible incentive conflicts.
  • Module 12: Coordination, Quality and Modern Retail
    • In this module you will learn about the modern retail sector and its procurement contracts, the issues around shelf allocation and supplier selection.
  • Module 13: Industrial Standards
    • In this module you will learn about vertical coordination and its relation to transaction costs and quality. You will also learn about standards, meta-standards and meta-systems. The module ends with examples of food quality standards.
  • Final Exam

Taught by

Luisa Menapace, Faical Akaichi, Francesco Bimbo, Carlo Russo, Hannes Lang and Montserrat Costa-Font


4.5 rating at Coursera based on 393 ratings

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