BNF Takes the Lead in Establishing Six Innovation Hubs to Tackle Diet-Related Health Challenges in the UK

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UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Reveals Strategy to Lead Establishment of Six Innovation Hubs through the Diet and Health Open Innovation Research Club (OIRC) aimed at Combatting Unhealthy Diets in the UK.

These hubs will serve as focal points for researchers and experts in nutrition to devise solutions for pressing health challenges linked to diets and surmount obstacles to advancement. 

BNF To Emphasize To Ensure Seamless Connectivity Between Hibs and Scientific Discoveries

BNF emphasizes its commitment to ensuring seamless connectivity between the hubs and the dissemination of scientific discoveries across the network.

“We witness top-tier nutrition and health research emerging from the UK; however, its translation into tangible benefits for consumers often falls short,” explains Bridget Benelam, Nutrition Communications Manager at BNF, in conversation with Nutrition Insight.

“The sharing of top-notch research can play a pivotal role in ensuring that investment in innovation is driven by solid, evidence-based nutrition and science, rather than being guided by consumer fads.”

The OIRC Constitutes an Investment of Around £15 Million (US$19 million)

“OIRC signifies a significant investment to deliver pioneering innovation in the realm of diet and health by addressing pivotal shared barriers to innovation within the food and beverage sector. This showcases a dedication to collaborative efforts between academia and industry, ultimately maximizing positive outcomes for the public good,” remarks Benelam.

Unveiling Nutritional Insights

The OIRC innovation hubs will place a premium on unraveling the intricate relationship between food constituents and human physiology, with a focus on enhancing health and nutrition through biofortification.

“An instance of this is the INFORM hub, which delves into the potential of functional foods and beverages to enhance health and recovery. The hub’s primary focus will revolve around prebiotics, probiotics, and plant stanols, all of which can contribute beneficially to gut microbiota,” Benelam adds.

The OIRC hubs will establish a network for nutrition experts to address critical challenges within the field.

“The Consumer Lab Hub will establish a nationwide ‘consumer lab,’ comprised of a network of industry and academic members. This lab will delve into the appeal of food products, consumer preferences, and dietary behaviors in everyday settings such as homes, cafes, and school canteens.”

Analysis Will Be On Biological and Psychological Factors Infleuncing Food Choices 

Within the framework of these hubs, thorough analysis will be conducted on the biological, social, and psychological factors influencing food choices and eating habits. Additionally, a key focus of exploration within these innovation hubs will be understanding how food and beverages can provide enhanced nutritional benefits.

“Diet-related illnesses are major global health concerns, and nutrition research has furnished invaluable insights into understanding the impact of our dietary choices on health,” affirms Sara Stanner, Science Director at the British Nutrition Foundation. The analysis will include factors on why people choose certain food choices and eating habits. 

“However, for these insights to truly make a difference, they must translate into healthier, more sustainable products and improved nutrition. Collaborative efforts can exert influence across the entire food chain, from agriculture to products on store shelves, in order to unlock tangible health and well-being benefits for individuals.”

Read More: Revolutionary Move: UKs Groundbreaking Plan to Embed Health Warnings Inside Cigarette Packs

Calling for Participation from Food Industry Stakeholders

The funding for these hubs is provided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, with support from the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Innovate UK, and the Medical Research Council.

“Collectively, these six innovation hubs will lead the way in the UK by advancing research and innovation. An essential component of this initiative is fostering cross-sector collaborative networks that will enhance the UK’s capabilities to address the most critical issues related to improving our nation’s diet,” explains Benelam.

In recent developments, BNF introduced a food roadmap designed to complement the food curriculum. This resource guides educators and students on topics and practices related to healthy eating and cooking. Food inductries stakeholders will be participating on all kinds of activities that will include research on food choices. 

Furthermore, the organization has partnered with the Magic Breakfast charity to drive research in child nutrition. This move will explore whether breakfast clubs can contribute to improved learning outcomes and both physical and mental well-being.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.