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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FOOD3330 Functional Foods

10 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Prof Kieran Tuohy

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of a second year Science programme at University

This module is mutually exclusive with

FOOD5280MFunctional Foods

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module serves to gain comprehensive and critical understanding on Functional Foods, namely foods and food ingredients with demonstrated enhanced physiological function or effects in disease risk reduction.


On completion of the Module, you should be able to:

• Understand the health, scientific, regulatory and economic issues raised by functional foods and foods functionality
• Establish the links between the knowledge gained in the module (and others) with real-world interests in improving health, in generating added-value in the food industry and in keeping a competitive and innovative national and international food industry
• Have a critical understanding of the difference between current scientific findings and the consumer perception of the health benefits of foods, as drivers to the development and marketing of new foods.

Learning outcomes
1. Explain the concept of “Functional Foods” and differences with food supplements, fortified foods, novel foods and medicines. Recognise the scientific, health regulatory and economic importance of “Functional Foods”.
2. Explain the differences between established “Functional Foods” with approved health claims and novel and new potential foods and food ingredients that can eventually have approved health claims
3. Recognise the strength of scientific evidence regarding the health benefits of given foods and food ingredients beyond their nutritional functions.
4. Develop a critical understanding to judge the difference between marketing and consumer perception and scientifically based knowledge regarding potential future Functional Foods.
5. Explain the sources of variability of in vivo studies (animal and human clinical trials) regarding bioavailability, digestion and methodological aspects.

Skills outcomes
Applying knowledge of food science and nutrition in the context of the current global diet-related health challenges.
Raise awareness of the need of further research in food to underpin knowledge-based innovation in the food industry


1. General background on “Functional Foods”
2. Health claims and regulations
3. Non-communicable diseases global statistics. Change in diet through evolution and current health implications
4. The Finnish experience with Functional Foods – Benecol case.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids in the context of Functional Foods
6. Flavonoids and Functional Foods
7. Beta-glucan and other food carbohydrates with health benefits: Effects on health and gut microbiota
8. Bioaccessibility/bioavailability of Functional Foods and bioactive ingredients
9. Encapsulation of functional bioactive ingredients
10. Selected topics (by seminars) on Functional Foods.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group learning31.003.00
Private study hours79.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

• Directed reading for lectures: 11 hours
• Reading for seminars presentations: 11 hours
• Additional reading/study: 46 hours
• Preparation and revision for coursework: 11 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

General feedback on exam performance will be posted on the Minerva, while individual feedback will also be provided upon marking of the exam.
Formative feedback will be given regularly during taught and seminar sessions in response to independent learning tasks.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PresentationPresentation of a poster in teams of four students25.00
PresentationPeer assessment for presentation: questions and discussion with blog space discussions.5.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 16/02/2024


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