The future of food: opportunities to improve health through … – nesta

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Senior Analyst, A Healthy Life
Lucy is a senior analyst on the healthy life mission team.
Principal Data Scientist, A Healthy Life
Elena is a principal data scientist for the healthy life mission.
Deputy Director, A Healthy Life
Lauren is the Deputy Director of the healthy life mission.
Data Scientist, Data Analytics Practice
Izzy is a Data Scientist working in the Data Analytics practice.
Design Lead, A Healthy Life
Clara is Design Lead for the healthy life mission.
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Many of us live in environments where the food that is most readily available is unhealthy. One way we can change this is by reducing the calorie density of the food we eat through reformulation. Calorie density is the number of calories per gram of food, with higher calorie-dense food providing more energy in smaller quantities than less calorie-dense food. This is particularly appealing as these changes are often imperceivable and don’t require individual-level behaviour change. Reformulating foods means using new ingredients, changing recipes or adapting manufacturing processes to reduce their calorie density.
Our report uncovers the food categories that could be promising targets for reformulation and identifies the main barriers and opportunities of reformulation for industry and policymakers. We conducted mixed methods research that included interviews with industry and public health stakeholders alongside analysis of in-home food and drink purchases for over 29,000 households in Great Britain.
We found that it could be possible to remove 38 calories per person, per day (the equivalent of 1 billion calories across the whole UK population) from diets if the food categories that contribute most to calorie consumption were reformulated to reduce their calorie content by 10%.
To achieve the greatest impact with reformulation, we have made four recommendations.
Our data analysis – what we did
In this stage of our reformulation work we have focused on the retail sector, understanding what households purchase and which foods contribute most to overall calorie consumption. Next, we will:

Senior Analyst, A Healthy Life
Lucy is a senior analyst on the healthy life mission team.
Principal Data Scientist, A Healthy Life
Elena is a principal data scientist for the healthy life mission.
Deputy Director, A Healthy Life
Lauren is the Deputy Director of the healthy life mission.
Data Scientist, Data Analytics Practice
Izzy is a Data Scientist working in the Data Analytics practice.
Design Lead, A Healthy Life
Clara is Design Lead for the healthy life mission.
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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

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