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Nutrition health and well–being: research programme

Clean label sugar reduction

Campden BRI project 144037 (Jan 2018 – Dec 2020)
Member funded

Current and impending PHE targets, the sugar levy, demands from consumers and social responsibility means there is a huge pressure for the food industry to continue carrying out wide ranging reformulation. This presents a major technical challenge to the food industry.

A lot of focus in recent years has been on identifying suitable alternative ingredients for sugar reduction, however, these are not always well accepted by consumers, who are increasingly demanding clean label solutions. This project aims to take an alternative approach by understanding how far sugar can be simply removed before product quality is compromised to an unacceptable level or functionality is lost and the need arises to intervene via the use of clean label and/or processing solutions to optimise the level of reduction that can be achieved. The project will also explore what is the smallest portion size consumers will accept before they buy two of the same product and the effectiveness of two clean label approaches in composite products.

Charlotte Holmes
+44(0)1386 842257

Iron and zinc bioavailability

Campden BRI project
Funded by BBSRC

Nutritional deficiency in essential dietary metals such as iron and zinc is a public health concern in the UK, particularly for girls and young women. Approximately 30 - 50% of the iron and zinc in the UK diet is provided by cereals and cereal. In wholegrain wheat, most of the iron and zinc is contained within a single layer of cells called the aleurone layer. However, recent work shows that aleurone cells are resistant to physical disruption and digestion. Additionally, the aleurone layer is removed during processing of wheat into white flour and hence much of the iron and zinc is lost.

This project aims to use novel food processing techniques to increase the bioavailability of the naturally-occurring iron and zinc in wheat. This process, called micro-milling, ruptures the aleurone cell walls and potentially makes the iron and zinc more available for absorption. Recently published work shows that micro-milling increases the solubility of iron and enhances iron absorption by intestinal epithelial cells. We will test the Research Programme 2018: Nutrition, health and well-being 17 bioavailability of zinc and iron in micro-milled wheat and analyse the structure of breads produced to assess the consumer acceptability of these products.

Dr Simon Penson
+44(0)1386 842280

Protein for life

Campden BRI project 142782
Funded by BBSRC

People in western society are living a lot longer, and 'ageing well' is now becoming a very important priority for public health. Ageing goes hand in hand with a loss of muscle size and strength (known as sarcopenia). Physical inactivity and poor nutrition are known to speed up the loss of muscle size and strength. A lack of protein is a key dietary deficiency for the ageing population. Food intake is known to decline with age. This is due to a range of factors including loss of appetite, changes in perceptions and taste, living conditions and financial reasons. There is currently a lack of mainstream food products that can help meet the protein needs of an ageing population. This project will attempt to identify and develop guidelines for protein products for healthy ageing that are sustainable, cost effective and enjoyable. This information will then inform the food industry for new product development and reformulation of existing products that are appropriate.

Joe McGurk
+44(0)1386 842241

Profitable industrial manufacturing of bread for the retail mainstream with enhanced nutritional composition

Campden BRI Hungary project (Oct 2017 – 2019)
Government funded

Semi-white and wholemeal breads with focus on improved nutritional profile for a healthy diet will be developed. Cost premium associated with the use of more expensive ingredients will be balanced through the savings on the manufacturing cost. Improvements in line performance and energy use would be achieved with better process control on the critical equipment, all this through the set of intelligent sensors driven closed control loops. Higher added value and bakery products shall not necessarily be more expensive on the shelves if produced in high volume, on an efficient line, making the benefits widely available to those wanting the health conscious choice.

András Sebõk

Ingredient selection to meet compositional and nutritional targets

Campden BRI project 140908 (Jan 2017 – Dec 2019)
Member funded

Food and beverage product formulation / ingredient selection is being driven to meet an increasing number of compositional (and hence nutritional) goals by a range of factors, including consumer demand. This process is often technically complex due to the large and increasing number of variables involved – but necessary in the context of nutrition claims and wider corporate social responsibilities. Food retailers and manufacturers are driven to improve the nutritional composition of their products by the need to acknowledge consumer perception of nutritional requirements, the potential to make nutrition and health claims, and increasingly by corporate social responsibility. The final point is becoming increasingly relevant, as UK and European food supply is not fully meeting the nutritional requirements of the public. This project will develop a database tool to guide ingredient selection during formulation against compositional and nutritional targets.

Emma Hanby
+44(0)1386 842262

Improving the nutritional profile of baked gluten and wheat free products by reducing fat, sugar and salt and improving fibre content

Campden BRI project 140160 (Sep 2016 – Aug 2018)
Funded by Innovate UK

The gluten-free and wheat-free market is growing. Its consumers are not only those who need to avoid wheat for medical reasons, but also those who believe that the products are generally more healthy. The removal of wheat and gluten from bakery products gives rise to a number of technological challenges, resulting in quality issues such as taste, eating quality and shelf life. In addition gluten-free and wheat-free products often have a poorer nutritional profile, being higher in fat, sugar and salt than wheat-containing breads. Whilst a number of technologies have been developed in wheaten bakery to support fat, sugar and salt reduction and increase fibre, there has been less focus on the development or application of such technologies to wheat-free and gluten-free bakery products. The aim of this project is to reformulate gluten-free and wheat-free bakery products to improve the overall nutritional profile by reducing fat, sugar and salt and improving fibre whilst maintaining or improving the quality aspects.

Michael Adams
+44(0)1386 842284

Innovative salt reduction and fibre enhancement of artisanal sourdough bread products (Optimise)

Campden BRI project 140113 (Sep 2016 – Aug 2018)
Funded by Innovate UK

The project seeks to drive the development and commercialisation of an innovative range of scalable artisanal sourdough products with significantly reduced salt and increased fibre. There is growing scientific evidence that suggests sourdough could be used to overcome the challenges of providing more nutritious bread (lower salt/sugar, increased fibre) to a wider audience whilst improving product quality and palatability. The project will establish an innovative, integrated UK supply chain of sustainably sourced ingredients, including seaweed and organic cereal grains, and tailor them for sourdough production in order to overcome the scalability challenges that have previously inhibited efforts to bring genuine organic sourdough products to the mass market.

Michael Adams
+44(0)1386 842284

Designing food and drinks for personalisation of diets for different life stages

Campden BRI project 138061 (Jan 2016 – Dec 2018)
Member funded

Globally the over 65s are the fastest growing segment of the population. In 2010, approximately 10 million people were over 65 in the UK; this figure is projected to reach 15 million by 2030 and 19 million by 2050. The population of over 85s was around 1.4 million in 2012; this figure is expected to increase to 3.6 million in 2037. The ageing process is accompanied by a decrease in sensory perceptions such as smell, taste, vision, and hearing, and body movement, and an increasing requirement for food and drink products that meet their changing needs. These demographic changes will result in significant challenges for manufacturers and packaging designers in terms of both nutritional requirements and inclusivity of packaged products, while at the same time creating opportunities for growth in new markets. This project will help address these challenges.

Sarah Chapman
+44(0)1386 842212

Improving the nutritional status of crops for the agri-food chain

Campden BRI project 138060 (Jan 2016 – Dec 2018)
Member funded

Fruit, vegetable and cereal crops are important sources of nutritional dietary components. Vitamins and minerals obtained from a balanced diet containing fruits and vegetables are important to maintain human health and optimise resistance to disease and infection. However, there is evidence that the intake of fruits and vegetables has fallen, leading to concerns over consumer health. Evidence also suggests that although crop yields may have increased, the nutritional quality and content of fruits and vegetables has declined over the past decades. This project will investigate the potential for enhancing the vitamin, mineral and phytochemical content of commonly consumed food crops using agronomic approaches and/or targeted crop nutrient supplementation, to optimise raw material quality for the agri-food chain.

Nick Saunders
+44(0)1386 842162

Using crop genetics to understand the importance of dietary resistant starches for maintaining healthy glucose homeostasis

Campden BRI project 134915 (Sep 2014 – Aug 2018)
BBSRC DRINC Initiative at Imperial College, London

Pancreatic beta cell (BC) function is critically important to prevent development of insulin resistance and diabetes. BC function declines with age, chronically high levels of plasma glucose and raised free fatty acids (FFA). Data suggests an increase in GLP-1, lowering blood glucose and lowering FFA all protect BC function. Naturally occurring mutations of peas (Pisum sativum) result in high amounts of intrinsically resistant starch (RS). RS reaches the colon, where it is fermented to short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which are linked to increased GLP-1 release from the colon, lower blood glucose, lower plasma FFA concentration, and direct action of the SCFA on the BC. All four can have positive effects on BC function. Our hypothesis is that intake of intrinsic RS from peas will be BC protective. If this proves true then consumption of seeds and cereals with intrinsic RS will offer public health solutions to slowing BC decline and maintaining glucose homeostasis with age. This will enable food manufacturers to formulate products which can help protect BC function.

Dr Simon Penson
+44(0)1386 842280

Starch structure and cell wall digestion

Campden BRI project 132138 (Jan 2014 – Jan 2019)
BBSRC Studentship at King's College, London

This project will elucidate the fundamental mechanisms by which the benefits of from the consumption of cereal-derived beta-glucan are delivered. In particular, it will focus on the impact of beta-glucan on moderating post-prandial glycaemia and insulinaemia. The working hypothesis is that the mechanism is driven by the reduced rate of absorption resulting from a combination of slowed transit through the gastrointestinal tract (mediated by increased bolus viscosity) and the reduced rate of starch digestion (mediated by inhibition of alpha-amylase activity).

Dr Simon Penson
+44(0)1386 842280