Food Databanks National Capability

The Food Databanks Group manages data on the composition of foods eaten in the UK. As well as providing the nutritional information for food labelling, these data underpin research into the links between diet and health at the Quadram Institute, and across Europe and beyond whilst helping to inform policy to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The Food Databanks National Capability is vital for UK public health with respect to understanding the patterns and trends in food composition and consumption, and their effects on health, as well as in the development of healthier food products.

We provide new and updated data and knowledge, and help different stakeholders extract the most value from these data. In research and innovation, we support science in the Quadram Institute and in multidisciplinary research projects at the national and international level, as well as health research infrastructures related to the use of food composition data and dietary assessment tools. We work with the food industry, particularly SMEs, on training, data and support for reformulation, nutrition and health claims. The data we curate are an important resource for dietitians, nutritionists and health professionals. Consumers benefit through improved care and advice based on research, dietary monitoring and production of healthier products, and via our support for public health, where we help understand the impact of changes in food composition and consumption.

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. We also provide coordinated training and outreach covering food composition database compilation, quality systems and use of data for nutritional labelling, and work with stakeholders nationally and internationally to help them exploit the data for food and health applications.

Food Databanks oversees two different, but interconnected, databases, drawing on years of experience in developing and maintaining information resources on the nutritional content of food. These databases are established as independent and trusted resources with 50,000 international users from academia, healthcare, industry, government and the public.

The Nutrient composition for UK foods database describes foods eaten in the UK in terms of their macronutrients, e.g. fats, protein, carbohydrates as well as their micronutrient content, which includes vitamins and minerals. This data is published in McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods, a vital resource for food manufacturers, dietitians, researchers and policy makers who need to know the nutritional content of foods consumed in the UK.

Food Databanks also maintains eBASIS, a comprehensive, easily searchable database of non-nutrient bioactive compounds with putative health benefits. eBASIS provides information from published literature about non-nutrients (bioactives) with beneficial bioactivity data, and weighs the quality of the information according to peer-reviewed evidence. eBASIS links closely to QI research on bioactives, as well as being widely used in the verification of health claims.

fruit and vegetables

Our Targets

Targeting personalised nutrition

Personalised Nutrition

Targeting food composition

Food Composition

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