Researchers part of major project that aims to help transform UK food system

Olivia Miller
Picture by Unsplash

Professor Ben Lowe (Kent Business School) and Professor Iain Fraser (School of Economics) will work alongside colleagues from other UK universities (Reading, Cranfield, Sussex and Plymouth) and food industry organisations on a research project that will address the diets and nutrition of disadvantaged communities and their access to fresh, sustainable foods.

The project, titled ‘Co-production of healthy, sustainable food systems for disadvantaged communities’, will be led by the University of Reading. It is one of four interdisciplinary research programmes which have been awarded £24m through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) to transform food systems. The five-year projects will explore issues such as obesity, sustainable agriculture and global warming and aim to help communities and individuals to make better, healthier food choices.

Professor Lowe and Professor Fraser’s project will focus on sharing knowledge and learning from working with people in a variety of disadvantaged communities (Whitley-Reading, Brighton & Hove, Tower Hamlets, Plymouth), small and large food businesses, and policy makers to co-develop solutions that will provide people living in disadvantaged communities with improved access to fresher food and a balance of desirable, sustainable, affordable and healthy products. It will identify opportunities to prevent food loss from ‘mainstream’ supply chains and identify where increased sustainable production of primary food ingredients is needed.

Professor Lowe’s research input will focus on understanding how consumers attribute value to novel food innovations and will feed into the price setting process for these products to enhance acceptance. Professor Fraser will examine consumer attitudes and preferences towards design attributes of innovative food products.