The grant was awarded as part of the ‘Priming Food Partnerships’ initiative which is supported by four British research councils: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
The three winning projects aim to meet some of the challenges faced by industry. The first, led by Professor Gary Frost from Imperial College London will develop models of digestion that will help the new product development process for foods targeting nutrition and metabolic health. Nestlé, Mondelēz, PepsiCo and Pladis are industry partners.
A second project aims to generate multidisciplinary approaches to developing high-protein foods for healthy ageing. Researchers from Newcastle University will lead the project in partnership with Campden BRI, Bradgate Bakery, Branston, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Pladis, Premier Foods and Sainsbury’s.
The third project, led by Dr Lisa Methven from the University of Reading, will investigate the effects of reducing the fat content of foods on feelings of fullness and satiety by looking at the mouth-gut-brain model. Unilever, Arla, Mars, Mondelēz, Nestle, Pepsico, Pladis and Premier Foods have signed up.
Professor Stephen Parry, chair of Knowledge Transfer Network food sector group and member of the Priming Food Partnership panel of experts said: “The priming food partnership initiative is the culmination of ground-breaking work across industry, research councils and the academic community.
"It builds on the pre-competitive vision for the UK's food and drink industries and other initiatives placing emphasis across the whole food system. I hope and believe this is the start of new opportunities for ongoing collaboration between the food industry and academia delivering truly innovative research.”
Jacinta George, director of wellbeing technology acceleration at Mondelēz International said it was a seminal moment in partnership between UK academia, research councils and the food industry. “We identified grand challenges together and through the facilitation of BBSRC and the Knowledge Transfer Network have developed research programs to address which will help us all make progress faster. I am confident this will be a model for future collaborations.”