Food & Nutrition National Bioscience Research Infrastructure

Paul Finglas

Paul Finglas

Research Leader

The Food & Nutrition National Bioscience Research Infrastructure (F&N-NBRI), purpose is to provide new and updated data and knowledge on food composition and intake. These data enable the UK to deliver nutritional policy and high-quality science, and support current and emerging national needs in nutrition (food composition & intake), health (e.g., obesity, healthy aging), and sustainability (environmental and food security).

Within the group, we use our expertise to develop and apply new tools and methodologies for dietary assessment, and to improving the way that food composition data is delivered, which leads to our current projects in personalised nutrition and developing the exploitation of food composition data in new ways.

Working with academic and commercial partners we are developing new and enhanced tools around dietary intake assessment (e.g., integration of activity and sleep data from wearables in dietary assessment apps; developing web-enabled analytical tools for food frequency questionnaires (FFQs)).

Schematic showing the different users of food composition data.

Figure from M. H. Traka et al. 2020 doi: 10.1111/nbu.12433

Food composition data and tools are the fundamental evidence base for nutrition science and extensively used in the public health domain. They are used across multiple fields, both nationally and internationally, including dietetics, food technology, biomedical research, and public health policy.

F&N-NBRI manages data on the composition of foods eaten in the UK by way of McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods and the Integrated Dataset (CoFIDS), available in book form, Excel and via a searchable website.

These data are vital for UK public health with respect to understanding the patterns and trends in food composition and consumption, as well as in the development of healthier food products.

We periodically update specific sections of the dataset via analytical surveys, most recently focusing on fruits and vegetables (particularly fibre content) and cuts of pork, and regularly review our data against other sources such as other national composition datasets and food labels. We work with food data compilers across the world, particularly via the EuroFIR network, to ensure our methodologies and data follow international standards and best practice.

In addition to the CoFIDs dataset, we also maintain the eBASIS database (Bioactive Substances in Food Plants Information System), which contains information on potentially beneficial non-nutrient bioactive compounds found in plants and other foods, such as polyphenols and glucosinolates. The database is populated by relevant data found in scientific literature, which is assessed by expert evaluators to ensure relevance and quality.

We are in the process of connecting our nutrient data with food bioactive composition data from our eBASIS database, which will allow, for the first time, dietary intake assessment of bioactives to be estimated alongside nutrients.

For more information on F&N-NBRI data, projects and news visit the Group website

fruit and vegetables

Our Targets

Targeting personalised nutrition

Personalised Nutrition

Targeting Future Foods

Future Foods

Targeting food composition

Food Composition

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