03 Apr 2007   |   News

Food companies club together to access research for functional foods

A dozen food and drink firms have joined forces with the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to support research into food products intended to have health benefits for consumers.

A dozen food and drink manufacturing companies have joined forces in a £10 million partnership with the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to support research into functional or nutraceutical food products that are intended to have health benefits for consumers.

The founder members of the Diet and Health Research Industry Club are Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd, Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association, Cadbury Schweppes, Danisco, GlaxoSmithKline, Leatherhead Food International, Marks & Spencer plc, the National Association of British and Irish Millers, Nestlé, The Sugar Bureau, Unilever and United Biscuits. Between them they are contributing £1 million to the club.

“This new academic-industry club signals the companies’ commitment to work with academic scientists to translate information about the relationship between diet and health into products that can make a real difference to the nation's health,” said Alistair Penman, who chaired the inaugural meeting of the club earlier this week.

The club will support research aiming to improve understanding of the complex interactions between components of diet and the consequences for health, nutrition and wellbeing. It will be managed by the research council, and research projects will be awarded as research council grants using peer review processes as for fully public-funded research.

A steering group of six independent academic scientists and six industrial members, will make the awards on the basis of scientific quality and strategic relevance to two research themes.

These are: bioactives in foods – including, for example, understanding of how beneficial compounds work and how health claims may be verified; and improved understanding of healthier diets – including for example, the effect of food components on energy intake, and how foods might be designed to have precise nutritional properties.

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