The Centre for Food Policy is one of the very few places in the world dedicated to studying, teaching and influencing food policy.
Food policy matters because it affects everyone. Food policy shapes who eats what, why and at what cost. It affects our nutrition and health, our livelihoods and communities, our cities and countryside, our nature and climate – now and for future generations. Food policy also affects the people whose jobs involve growing, moving, processing and selling food.
Food policy can provide solutions to some of the most significant challenges in our world. We believe that to provide effective solutions, food policy-making needs to take account of the interconnections in the food system and the voices and experiences of people across the food system. We are committed to advancing this integrated and inclusive approach to food policy because we believe it will more effectively improve nutrition and health, protect the planet and contribute to economic and social prosperity, equitably.
At the Centre we value being part of a broader community, working to make a difference. Wherever you are in the food system, I look forward to engaging on this important agenda.
Professor Corinna Hawkes Director, Centre for Food Policy
We offer independent, inter-disciplinary food policy analysis and research and education for current and future food policy decision-makers and influencers in governments, public institutions, civil society and business.
We look at food policy through an inter-disciplinary, food systems lens that brings together different problems, sectors, institutions and issues from agriculture to nutrition, labour to public health, politics to economics and cooking to culture. We pioneered this integrated approach when we were founded in 1994. Our approach has now moved from marginal to mainstream.
Integrated food policies take account of the interconnections in the food system to enable nutrition, health, environmental, social and economic goals to be delivered more coherently. Our first goal is to advance the delivery of this integrated approach, locally, nationally and internationally. This approach is at the core of our world class research and our unique Masters programme.
Our second goal is to provide insights into how food policy can become more effective by listening to, engaging with and involving people. Evidence shows that opportunities to improve food policy are being missed by failing to reach out to unheard voices and translate what is learned into more people-centred design.
We take a global perspective. While people experience their food system at a local level, what happens in the food system in one place is affected by what goes on elsewhere. What happens in wealthier countries affects low and middle income countries and vice versa. Better policies are needed at the local, national and global levels to leverage these connections and influence change.
8th City Food Symposium: 'Connecting people with food policy’, the 2018 City Food Policy Symposium explored how gathering evidence of lived experiences of food challenges - how citizens and communities experience, explain and respond to them - can inform more effective, equitable and empowering policy solutions. The event report will be available towards the end of May.
New faces at the Centre for Food Policy! We are delighted to welcome three new Research Fellows to the Centre: Dr Kelly Parsons, Dr Laura Pereira and Dr Rosalind Sharpe, as well as Kathryn Packer who has joined us as an Honorary Research Associate.
Food Policy Masters students attend the 2018 City Food Lecture The City Food Lecture is an annual, invitation-only fixture in the City of London and food industry calendars. The event is organised by the seven city livery companies whose roots are in the food industry – namely the Worshipful Companies of Bakers, Butchers, Cooks, Farmers, Fishmongers, Fruiterers and Poulters. This year Helen Strong, Jack Fargher, and Viivi Oinonenx from the Food Policy Masters programme attended; participating in a behind the scenes visit to the Marks & Spencer HQ and meeting the evening’s keynote, Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive of Tesco. Read the student’s reflections on the visit and the role of the private sector in food policy in the latest Dispatches blog post
Professor Corinna Hawkes is Director of the Centre for Food Policy. She joined the Centre in January 2016 bringing with her a diversity of international experience at the interface between policy and research. She has worked with international agencies, governments, NGOs, think tanks and universities at the international level, as well as nationally and locally in the UK, United States and Brazil. A regular advisor to governments, international agencies and NGOs, her specialism is the role of food systems policies in what we eat and how they can be levered for positive impact. Corinna serves as Co-Chair of the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report, an international report tracking progress in malnutrition in all its forms across the globe. She sits on the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems, the Lancet Commission on Obesity and the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).
Dr Claire Marris joined the Centre for Food Policy in January 2016 and is Programme Director for the MSc in Food Policy. She initially trained as a plant molecular biologist before realising she was more interested in how science and policy shape our world than conducting research in the laboratory. Since 1992, she has conducted research in the field of Social Studies of Science, with a focus on the use of genetic modification techniques in food and agriculture. She is interested in the relationship between scientific evidence and policy making, notably in the area of risk assessment for crops and foods. Her work explores links between science and democracy, and advocates the inclusion of a broader range of stakeholders in decision-making.
Martin is professor in food and health policy at Centre for Food Policy at City University London. He originally trained as an environmental health officer in Dublin. After working in the north west of Ireland he developed an interest in the public health and health promotion aspects of the work. He spent some time working in the Irish and the English health services managing health promotion and public health services respectively.
Tim Lang has been Professor of Food Policy at City, University of London's Centre for Food Policy since 2002. He founded the Centre in 1994. After a PhD in social psychology at Leeds University, he became a hill farmer in the 1970s in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire which shifted his attention to food policy, where it has been ever since. For years, he's engaged in academic and public research and debate about its direction, locally to globally. His abiding interest is how policy addresses the mixed challenge of being food for the environment, health, social justice, and citizens. What is a good food system? How is ours measured and measuring up?
Associate Professor Jane Dixon is Senior Fellow at the Research School of Population Health, Australian National University. For 15 years, she has been conducting research at the intersection of sociology and public health, with a focus on the cultural, social and health impacts of food system transformations. Prior to this research track she was national coordinator of the Health Inequalities Research Collaboration, helping to establish the International Society for Equity in Health and Australia21, an innovative agenda-setting organisation. During the 1980s and 1990s she held academic teaching and consultancy positions.
Her fieldwork has taken place mainly within Australia and Thailand. In recent applied research, she has been an advisor to the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office and has served the International Union of Health Promotion and Education in two capacities: membership on their Global Working Group on the Social Determinants of Health and drafting their Food Systems Position Paper.
During 2016-2017 she is based at the Centre for Food Policy as Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor. She has current associations with the International Institute for Global Health, United Nations University, Kuala Lumpur and the Charles Perkins Centre Health Food Systems Project Node, Sydney University.
Her most recent books include: Health of People, Places and Planet: Reflections based on Tony McMichael’s four decades of contribution to epidemiological understanding (ANU Press 2015), When Culture Impacts Health (Elsevier 2013) and The Weight of Modernity (Springer 2012). She is the co-editor of two special symposia for Agriculture & Human Values: ‘Food Regimes Theory’ (2009) and ‘The changing role of supermarkets in global supply chains: from seedling to supermarket: agri-food supply chains in transition’ (2013). She has written the entry on “Food Systems” for the Oxford Bibliographies of Public Health, OUP DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756797-0151Dr Dixon sits on the editorial boards of Agriculture & Human Values and World Food Policy.
Mary has been the Coordinator for the Food Research Collaboration since it began in 2014. Prior to her current position, she worked as a Food Security, Livelihoods and Nutrition Specialist for a number of INGOs in the international humanitarian sector for 14 years, including British Red Cross, Oxfam and Medecines Sans Frontiers, as well as the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Food Programme. Before this, Mary worked as a nutritionist in the UK, mostly in academic research and teaching at Glasgow University and King’s College London but also for the Department of Health, International Obesity Task Force and as a volunteer for Sustain. She taught Nutrition at the University of Malawi after completing her MSc in Nutrition, from 1989 to 1991.
Education 2010 – 2012: MSc in Food Policy, City University London (Distinction) 1988 – 1989: MSc in Nutrition, King’s College London 1982 – 1985: BSc in Food Science, Food Economics & Marketing, University of Reading
Rebecca is a Teaching Fellow on the IFSTAL (Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning IFSTAL) project at City's Centre for Food Policy. She shares this post with Annabel de Frece and both are based in the Centre for Food Policy. IFSTAL is a postgraduate, multi-disciplinary, inter-university project which aims to promote food systems thinking in order to address the global food crisis. A former BBC radio producer and a food journalist for some 15 years Rebecca is currently writing up her PhD which looks at the interaction between food policy and the UK media. Her thesis takes as a case study UK Department of Health recommendations on red and processed meat consumption and cancer. Her research interests include food policy, food in the media, food poverty, food banks and food security.
Annabel is a Teaching Fellow on the IFSTAL (Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning IFSTAL) project at City's Centre for Food Policy. She shares this post with Rebecca Wells and both are based in the Centre for Food Policy. IFSTAL is a postgraduate, multi-disciplinary, inter-university project which aims to promote food systems thinking in order to address the global food crisis. Annabel’s background is in agricultural livelihoods and the links between policy, the environment and social and cultural systems. Her doctoral research in the Yucatán, Mexico explored local meanings attached to the milpa and the interactions between farmers, development interventions and environmental narratives.
She has taught on both undergraduate and post graduate courses in the fields of development studies and gender. Her interests include knowledge systems relating to the environment, development and inequality, teaching methods and pedagogy. She has conducted research in Ghana and India and she is also a distance learning tutor and course author at CEDEP/SOAS teaching gender and social inequality.
A critical analysis of NGO advocacy in UK nutrition policy: What is its role, impact and effectiveness?
Education and Experience
BSc (Hons) Nutrition & Food Science, The University of Reading
Worked at Consensus Action on Salt and Health for 3 years, working on and taking forward the UK's salt reduction policy.
Hannah has since taken a research post with The International Association for the Study of Obesity/International Obesity Taskforce (IASO/IOTF), where she will be researching and developing their advocacy programme.
Dr Rachel Carey is a qualitative research specialist with a background in consumer research. She has a Masters degree in Food Policy from the Centre for Food Policy, City University London and a PhD from Manchester University.
She is a Research Fellow at the Food Alliance in the Food Policy Unit at Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia) and also at the Centre for Commercial Law and Regulatory Studies at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Her research interests focus on food policy analysis, food systems planning and sustainability, city food systems and water and food security.
Dr Charlie Clutterbuck has been a Research Fellow in Food Policy at City University London since May 2003. Having graduated with three degrees in agricultural science, he worked in the 1970s for British Society for Social Responsibility campaigning against pollution at work, in the environment and food. He founded Hazards Bulletin (now Hazards) in the mid 1970s. He then worked for twenty years as a Senior Lecturer in trade union education at Blackburn College, Lancashire, focussing on the work environment. For over ten years, he has run his own business developing web-based learning materials to encourage people at work to improve health and the environment.
John Coveney is Professor in the Discipline of Public Health and Associate Dean in the School of Medicine at Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia. He has worked in clinical nutrition, and community and public health in Papua New Guinea, Australia and UK.
Dr Jane Dixon is Senior Fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University. For much of 2016 she is based at the Centre for Food Policy as a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor. For 15 years, she has been conducting research at the intersection of sociology and public health, with a focus on the cultural, social and health impacts of food system transformations. Prior to this research track she was national coordinator of the Health Inequalities Research Collaboration, helping to establish the International Society for Equity in Health. Her current research centres on: whether competition law can be used to regulate supermarkets for community welfare objectives; the relationship between food consumption trends and producer livelihoods; how labour market timescapes influence health practice timescapes. In recent applied research, she has been an advisor to the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office and has written a Food Systems Position Paper for the International Union of Health Promotion and Education. She is a Visiting Research Fellow with the International Institute for Global Health, United Nations University, Kuala Lumpur.
Dr Michael Heasman has worked in the area of food and nutrition policy for more than 25 years as a social science researcher, teacher, writer, and consultant in the European Union, U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, and China for business, public, and civil society organizations.
Mark is a Professor in Public Health Nutrition at Deakin University, Australia. He has 30 years experience working in food policy at local, state, national and international levels. Mark's research interests focus on food systems and sustainability, and the science and politics of policy-making associated with protecting and promoting public health nutrition. Mark teaches at postgraduate level in food policy and food regulation, and is the coordinator of the University's postgraduate public health nutrition programme.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Dr Geof Rayner worked in various academic positions including London University and City University London, New York. From 1985 to 1992 he was Manager of the Lambeth Health Liaison Unit, a joint body of the London Borough of Lambeth and the West Lambeth and Camberwell Health Authorities. From 1992 to the present, Dr Rayner has been a consultant specialising in public health policy. He is currently a contractor for the European Commission on a two year project examining food industry governance in the 27 countries of the EU. Alongside his links with City University London he is Professor Associate in Public Health at Brunel University. He is a director of a farm in the Midlands and chair of several commercial and not-for-profit companies, including Photofusion Photography Centre, in London.
At the heart of our education programme is our commitment to advancing an integrated approach to food policy that takes account of the interconnections in the food system to enable nutrition, health, environmental, social and economic goals to be delivered more coherently.
Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and go onto work in governments, public institutions, civil society, business large and small, and the media. The aim is to equip these future decision-makers and influencers with a bigger picture understanding of what food policy is, how it works and why. We instill food systems thinking as a practical skill that can be used in the real world of food and food policy.
We educate students from all over the world. The fact that our students come from such a variety of backgrounds - many disciplines, many professions - means we learn from our students, and they learn from each other. Our courses draw extensively not just on academic experts but on leading practitioners in the field we study, ensuring that they remain at the forefront of current developments.
Discover how to change the food system for the better on our unique MSc in Food Policy at City. The MSc is for people who care about food and want to gain a strong, critical grasp of food policy as a field of scholarship and practice. Full details can be found on the course pages.
Our PhD / MPhil in Food Policy at City educates students wanting to gain deeper insights into food policy - the way it is made, how it is designed, and its effects. It is an advanced route into academic work in food policy as well as other professions. It will help you acquire the skills to become a professional researcher; explore a topic of interest to you in depth, and contribute original work which will extend the current knowledge base to influence and change food policy. Full details can be found on the course pages.
Our PhD programme has a cohort of students studying a diversity of food policy topics and actively engaged in the life of the Centre. It offers early and mid-career professionals the opportunity to situate detailed research within the bigger picture and engage with live policy issues.
The IFSTAL initiative is a collaborative and cross-university food systems training programme, learning community and interactive resource designed to improve participant’s knowledge and understanding of the food system. IFSTAL increases employability skills and is building a cohort of inter-disciplinary professionals equipped with food-systems thinking for the workplace.
We co-manage IFSTAL alongside six other leading institutions;
University of Oxford
University of Reading
University of Warwick
The Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), comprising researchers from the Royal Veterinary College, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the School of African and Oriental Studies.
Open to students from the participating institutions, IFSTAL fosters interdisciplinary and systems thinking learning amongst participants from any discipline working on food issues to improve human, animal and environmental health.
IFSTAL also organises public events and works closely with a growing network of workplace partners from civil society organisations, government and industry.
City students can self-enroll free of charge by searching for IFSTAL on Moodle.
Find out more about IFSTAL in our video
Getting involved with the IFSTAL programme was hugely beneficial to my learning and development in a number of ways. Firstly it provided a unique platform to network with, and learn from; a range of researchers and practitioners from across the food system. Secondly, the programme delivered a set of high quality workshops on food systems analysis which helped refine my research skills, something I am able to utilise in my current role as a social researcher. IFSTAL provided me with a really valuable resource to develop a set of skills needed for tackling complex food system challenges.
Luke Hamilton, MSc Food Policy, City University of London, now working at DEFRA.
Graduates from our Masters and PhD programmes run NGOs, progressive food businesses, work in governments, and UN or international agencies, and have established great careers in health advocacy, journalism and academia.
Find out more about some of our alumni and what they are up to now.
Read about ‘a day in the life’ of alumni Kawther Hasham, Researcher, Nutritionist and Campaigner at Action on Sugar and Sky Cracknell, an artisan jam entrepreneur.
Each year the Worshipful Company of Cooks and the Worshipful Company of Farmers award prizes for outstanding dissertations. We are delighted to have their continued support, as are our students:
Winning the Worshipful Company of Cooks Food Policy Dissertation Prize was an honour. On a personal level, it meant a lot to me that the energy and effort I’d put into my dissertation had been recognised in such a way. I do not doubt that it has helped enormously with my professional development as well; I was awarded a fully-funded PhD at the University of Oxford to continue my masters project in 2016. The award of academic prizes makes up part of the selection criteria for prospective PhD candidates, so I genuinely feel that the Worshipful Company of Cooks Food Policy Dissertation Prize played a significant part in my success at being given a place here at Oxford.
Lauren Bandy, 2014 winner of the Worshipful Company of Cooks Dissertation Prize
I was utterly delighted to receive the Worshipful Company of Farmers Food Policy Dissertation Prize. As a mum of two kids who had not written an essay for nearly twenty years the MSc in Food Policy was very challenging for me, in many ways. I worked really hard and to have this recognised with the Prize was wonderful. Following my Masters course I decided to do a PhD, and I am sure that the Prize helped me win a scholarship.
Annie Connolly, 2014 winner of the Worshipful Company of Farmers Dissertation Prize
I was surprised and delighted to win the Worshipful Company of Cooks dissertation prize given the quality of candidates at the Centre of Food Policy. It was an honour to be invited to accept the award among so many exceptional talents from all areas of food. The prize is not only a recognition of my research into healthy food behaviours, but is a great reminder of the importance of integrating academic discussion with other industries and careers to bring about positive change across the food system and create opportunities for collaboration. The award has subsequently supported my ambition to further my career into food policy as I recently accepted a role as an advisor to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Clara Widdeson, 2016 winner of the Worshipful Company of Cooks Dissertation Prize
I was delighted to win the Food Policy Dissertation Prize from the Worshipful Company of Farmers. To receive the award, I was invited to join a special luncheon where I had the opportunity to engage with British farmers in meaningful discussions on how my research in the sustainability of animal agriculture impacts their work on the ground as well as how they are collectively thinking about sustainability and health of British agriculture as a livery company. I can’t imagine an award for my research that would mean more to me than the recognition of farmers themselves, upon whom our whole food system depends.
Christiana Wyly, 2017 winner of the Worshipful Company of Farmers Dissertation Prize
Our research aims to find solutions to a wide range of food policy challenges. It advances understanding of how to design integrated and inclusive food policies that tackle these challenges more effectively and more equitably. Conducting our analysis within a food systems framework, we provide evidence on:
How food systems are working - and how integrated policy can help them work better. What are the perceptions of how food systems work? What are the fundamentals that need to change to achieve food systems which support healthy diets, protect the planet, nurture social cohesion while also being economically viable? What are the conflicts that need to be overcome? What does policy need to do to address conflicts and drive needed changes? How can food policy and governance leverage the connections across food systems, governments and beyond to deliver healthy, equitable and environmentally sustainable food systems?
How people experience food systems - and what can be learned from this to design more inclusive policies. What can we learn about how to address food-system challenges by listening to and involving the citizens and communities who experience these challenges? What, likewise, can we learn from better understanding the perspectives and perceptions of the people who manage and govern the system? What can policy do to build the opportunity, capacity and motivation to identify and tackle the challenges?
How policies and governance are working ̶ and what can be learned from approaches that have succeeded or failed. What policies already exist and how coherent are they? Are they being implemented effectively? If so, how? If not, why not? What has been or can be learned from previous efforts to develop, design and deliver integrated and inclusive food policies? Who is influencing decision-making and how? How does food governance work and how could it work more effectively?
This programme of work has been ongoing since the Centre’s inception, led by Professor Martin Caraher. Current projects include:
Cooking skills on the Island of Ireland
This project, begun in 2016 and run in conjunction with Queens University Belfast, aims to provide a holistic understanding of cooking skills and food skills on the island of Ireland and their impact on individuals’ diets. The project is part of Safefood , an all-island implementation body set up under the Anglo-Irish Agreement and funded by the EU. Safefood has a general remit to promote awareness of food safety and nutrition issues on the island of Ireland. The project has already completed a review of cooking which informed an intervention with 140 adults in four different settings to identify which technologies are useful in developing food literacy. We are also working with NHS Scotland to advise on their ‘realist’ review of cooking initiatives and guidance for practitioners. For more information, contact programme lead Professor Martin Caraher. Publications from this project can be found here.
Developing a tool to measure cooking activity in Brazil
The Centre for Food Policy has partnered with the Universidade Federal de Alagoas and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (both in Brazil) to investigate cooking skills in Brazil and the UK. The project is funded by a grant from the federal government of Brazil. It is based on a placement by Professora Manuela Mika Jomor at the Centre for Food Policy in 2017, with funding running until the end of 2019. Two papers have been submitted examining the cross-cultural adaptions of questionnaires for use in a Brazilian context. For more information, contact project lead Professor Martin Caraher.
Guidance on cooking skills training
The Food Research Collaborationis working with the Sustainable Food Cities Network to develop practical guidance on cooking skills training, to be used by community-based practitioners and commissioners. It will review and share the evidence needed to help ‘make the case’ to support cooking skills training, and will also help to find out ‘what works’ in terms of identifying and measuring course outcomes. The project is being supported by Professor Martin Caraher and a Project Team of local practitioners and commissioners, policy makers and academics. For more information, contact project lead Mary Atkinson or visit the Food Research Collaboration website here.
Review of community cooking policy
With colleagues from France, Spain and the US (universities of Lyons, San Sebastian, Michigan School of Public Health and Colorado State University), this project is set to explore the policies that guide community coking projects and initiatives. Although there is an emerging academic literature on the impact and outcome of community food initiatives, there has been little focus on the national policies that drive, or indeed hinder, this work. This work is funded through an EU 5th framework grant and has resulted in two summer schools on cooking. The policy work is being funded via a series of workshops, linked to the summer schools, where the key actors spend a couple of extra days teasing out the policy work. For more information, contact project lead Professor Martin Caraher.
Professor Corinna Hawkes is leading research for a paper, to be published in 2018/19 in the next Lancet series on nutrition, on the double burden of malnutrition. Working with colleagues at the International Food Policy Research Institute and elsewhere, the project involves assessing the implications of the design of existing undernutrition policies and interventions for obesity, and looking at how a more integrated approach could reduce the risk of undernutrition and obesity in a synergistic manner. An existing Policy Brief on Double Duty Actions, authored by Corinna Hawkes and published by the World Health Organization, can be found here.
This project is part of the current work programme of the Food Research Collaboration. Brexit will have profound effects on the UK’s food supply, and has prompted extensive analysis by academics and campaigning by civil society groups. The objective of this project is to help synthesise this activity, to ensure that food system sustainability, underpinned by integrative and inclusive governance, remains central to emerging food policy. It aims to achieve this both by generating research data and by bringing together organisations and scholars at work on the topic to share information and experience. One output is the series of Food Brexit Briefings on critical issues. The project is also working on a series of evidence papers that apply the integrative policy lens to some key food supply chains. These will draw together current research and collaboration with civil society partners to explore how the Brexit ‘unfrozen moment’ could enable more sustainable food policy. For more information, contact project lead Dr Rosalind Sharpe or visit the Food Research Collaboration website here.
This programme of work has been ongoing at the Centre since its inception, led by Professor Martin Caraher. The goal is to better understand the causes of and solutions to food poverty, including by engaging with people who experience food poverty. Current areas of work include:
In a joint project initiated in 2015 with Flinders University (Adelaide, Australia), Otago (New Zealand) and Curtin (Perth, Australia), we are exploring the appropriateness of social supermarkets as a solution to food poverty. In 2017 we also prepared a report on the feasibility of social supermarkets for the Department of Communities Northern Ireland. For more information, contact programme lead Professor Martin Caraher.
Food banks and food charities
This project, initiated in 2018 with Curtin University (Perth, Australia), explores the role of food banks in alleviating suffering and poverty among homeless and distressed populations. It is funded by a grant from HealthWay, the Western Australia Health Promotion Foundation, where Professor Caraher was visiting Healthway fellow for three months in 2016. This work emerges from that fellowship and the collaborations made during this time. So far, two papers have emerged, available here.
We are also working with the University of Ulster on the social cost of food charity – in this project we compare the cost of a food bank emergency food parcel with that of a consensually agreed, nutritionally adequate diet. The objective is to identify the welfare costs of providing cash as opposed to charity, and establish a ‘social cost’ indicator. Part of the work will inform the Menu for Change programme in Scotland. The relationship and links between the retail sector and food charities is also being explored as part of a consortium with colleagues at the Universität Bielefeld (Germany), Helsinki University (Finland), Ryerson University (Canada), Deakin University (Australia) and the university of Dijon (France) . For more information, contact programme lead Professor Martin Caraher.
The aim of this programme of work, initiated in 2018, is to explore and communicate what integrated food policy means, and how it might be put into practice. It currently comprises three projects. For more information contact project lead Dr Kelly Parsons.
Towards an integrated UK food policy
As part of the current work programme of the Food Research Collaboration, this project asks the question: what governance might be needed for a more integrated and inclusive approach to food across the UK government? It is answering this question by investigating how food policy is currently made in the UK through interviews with policy makers and other stakeholders. The research is being conducted in collaboration with a Project Team comprising academic and civil society representatives from Deakin University (Australia); UK Health Forum; Wageningen University (the Netherlands); Which? and WWF.
Good Food Systems
This research explores how aspects of food systems would need to function in order to deliver multiple goals, e.g. nutrition and economic goals; health and sustainability. It includes a policy brief commissioned by the European Health Observatory in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Austria, to be published in late 2018.
Conflicts and connections in food policy
This project, funded by the Wellcome Trust (2018-2019), has a global scope. It aims to identify the connections in food systems and food policies where positive change could happen at multiple scales ̶ from local and urban food policy integration to the global level. It also identifies the conflicts that need to be managed to enable change to happen. The results will be published as a series of briefing papers.
The Centre for Food Policy leads the Food Policy and Systems workstream of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded Obesity Policy Research Unit (OPRU], a collaboration with University College London, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and other partners. The OPRU aims to provide the UK Department of Health and Social Care with novel research evidence to help reduce the prevalence and burden of childhood obesity. We are currently leading on two projects. For more information, contact project lead Dr Anna Isaacs.
Understanding engagement with Food Provisioning Environments (2018-20)
The aim of this project is to understand how parents living in deprivation experience and engage with food provisioning environments, and develop suggestions for how food environments might better be able to facilitate the consumption of nutritious foods. Another aim is to understand how current national policy related to the food provisioning environment (as reflected in elements of the national Childhood Obesity Plan) is experienced at the local level. We are conducting a series of ethnographic case studies around the England, beginning with Great Yarmouth in July and August 2018. The case studies will employ a variety of participatory methods, including photo-elicitation and ‘shop-along’ interviews.
How much marketing for foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt are children exposed to? (2018-20)
This project aims to provide a child’s-eye view of exposure to marketing for foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. We are using automatic, wearable cameras to record how much marketing secondary-school-aged children see throughout the day. We are starting with a feasibility study in Southwark, London, in autumn 2018.
This project (2017-2021) is part of the Wellcome Trust funded Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) research consortium. It aims to provide policy makers with novel, interdisciplinary research evidence to define policies that can deliver nutritious, healthy foods in a sustainable and equitable manner. The focus countries are India, South Africa and the UK. Working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, The Food Foundation, University College London and other partners, we lead the Policy workstream, with the objective of identifying innovative policy opportunities throughout the food system. This involves: Mapping existing food policies in the focus countries; Conducting ‘tracer studies’ of specific items to understand how the food system currently works and what policies could be transformative; Identifying citizen-based innovations that could be scaled up and out to advance sustainability and health. For more information, contact project lead Dr Laura Pereira.
Initiated in 2015, this project is being conducted in partnership with Flinders University, Australia, with the objective of exploring trust and communication around the UK ‘horsegate’ scandal. It investigates how the media and policy advocates communicate the nature of food system risk, and forms part of a larger project, funded by the Australian Research Council, examining the links between policy makers, the food industry and the media in reporting food scares and scandals. The work has led to a new project, Trust makers, breakers and brokers of the food system: do consumers agree?, which involves exploring the views of consumers ̶ as major actors in the food system ̶ on trust. This project is funded by a South Australian Government and Flinders University pump-priming grant. For more information, contact project lead Professor Martin Caraher. Publications from this project can be found here.
Hannah Brinsden has done fieldwork on how policy advocacy works (and doesn’t work) in a diet and health context – seeing whether food policy change can and should pursue ‘evidence-based policy’.
Laurie Egger is looking at the impact of food assistance on food insecurity and nutrition in young children in the US and the UK. Her study aims to give a voice to deprived families who can help evaluate and inform policy.
Harvey Ells is looking at how different English street markets in the UK are reflected in wellbeing – whether markets’ role is the creation of retail-related social capital and what this means for policy.
Ceyhun Güngör is investigating Learning and Knowledge Transfer processes of non-competitive collaborative groups and their role in shaping food sustainability policy. This involves two national and international case studies.
Karl-Axel Lindgren has looked at the seminal 2013 Indian Food Security Act to see whether the interests of the urban poor featured in the formulation of the policy and its anticipated impact.
Amanda McCloat is working on policy issues related to the place and location of Home Economics in the secondary school curriculum in the Republic of Ireland. Her focus is on why and how Home Economics education and its role in the curriculum is established while in areas such as the UK it has lost its focus.
Natalie Neumann is assessing policy’s role in supporting farmers’ markets in the UK, asking: are they reaching all levels of society and creating equality in access to locally farmed and nutritious food?
Daphne Page is exploring the perceived link between urban agriculture and sustainability in municipal urban food strategies within the UK’s Sustainable Food Cities Network.
Many food system stakeholders from public and private sectors think that they should be doing more and better work together to make the food system deliver more affordable and available nutritious food for all.What are the knowledge and evidence gaps that are holding us back from doing this and are they researchable?
This presentation will explore potential areas where more and better public-private engagements can advance nutrition, ask what is holding back these engagements and what research can do to inform and facilitate them and make them more likely to deliver.
Questions and discussion will then be opened to the audience.
The seminar is free to attend, tickets are allocated on a first come first served basis so please do register here to secure your space.
27 June at the slightly earlier time of 4.30pm London, UK
The Socio-Legal Studies Association will hold an interdisciplinary seminar on the role that different legal regimes are playing in the financialisation of the global food system. Dr Rosalind Sharpe will be presenting the Centre’s perspective on food systems and sustainability.
Scoring Shared Goals and Tackling Trade-Offs: A workshop to identify win-wins for health, sustainability and economic goals
Hosted by Kelly Parsons, Laura Pereira and Corinna Hawkes, Centre for Food Policy, London
Monday 11 June 13:15 - 14:45. Room TBC
Where are there synergies in food system goals? What trade-offs will need to be reconciled? Which policy tools can bring goals together and create solutions to make multiple gains?
Come and discuss these important questions, and gain insights into how health, sustainability and economic goals can be achieved coherently across food systems.
According to the forthcoming report of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems, ‘an integrated policy approach means that everyone works to progress a shared set of goals leading to healthy diets from sustainable food systems’ (EAT-Lancet Commission 2018). But while there is agreement in principle to an integrated approach, awareness of how to achieve goals in an integrated way in practice is still developing, particularly in relation to how health and sustainability goals can be achieved while addressing economic considerations.
The workshop will address how food system goals interact, and identify barriers and opportunities for bringing multiple goals together. You will actively participate in small groups, on a two-stage analysis: first identifying – drawing on your experience in policy, business or research – potential shared goals across health, environment, social and economic considerations, then exploring potential political and economic barriers to achieving these. Participants will be given a summary of what we learn about the goals we have in common and how to overcome conflicts.
Professor Martin Caraher will be speaking on food poverty and Dr Rebecca Wells will be a panellist speaking on ‘How to foster inclusiveness of food systems by 2030’.
14-15 June Plovdiv, Bulgaria
The New Urban Food AgendaThis event brings together international experts to reflect on a decade of urban food policy, and identify key levers to deepen and broaden a transformative urban food agenda.
Professor Tim Lang will be discussing how we can integrate the social, ecological, health and employment future of food more effectively in his keynote: ‘The London Food Policy Journey - opportunities and challenges to refashion food systems in the Brexit era’.
20 June Cardiff, UK
Sugar Smart event [more info tbc]
Professor Corinna Hawkes will be chairing this event……
Our Food Thinkers seminar series features speakers concerned with the possibilities and challenges of integrated food policy. Here you can find recordings and presentations, where available, of previous seminars.
Food Thinkers March 2018: Trust is a must - food policy in an age of doubt.
John Coveney, Professor of Global Food, Culture and Health at Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, discussing consumer trust in food and food systems.
View the recording of the seminar: Trust is a must: food policy in an age of doubt
Food Thinkers December 2017 - A Christmas Special Panel Debate: What will get people cooking again? The role of public policy.
With guest panelists:
Rosie Boycott, Chair of the London Food Board
Professor Martin Caraher, Professor of Food and Health Policy, Centre for Food Policy
Amanda McCloat, Head of Home Economics, St. Angela's College, Sligo
Catherine Maxwell, Founder & Director, The Any Body Can Cook Community Interest Company
Marjon Willers, Specialist Dietician for Schools and Early Years, Islington Health and Wellbeing Team
Chaired by Professor Corinna Hawkes, Director, Centre for Food Policy View the recording of the debate: What will get people cooking again? The role of public policy.
Food Thinkers November 2017: Addressing hunger in America - cheap food or food with values?
Andy Fisher, leading US expert on community food security and author of Big Hunger, discussed the politics of this hunger industrial complex, and provided three examples of programs that seek to modify federal nutrition programs to promote a more integrated vision of food sovereignty, health, and sustainability.
Listen to the recording of the seminar: Addressing hunger in America - cheap food or food with values?
Food Thinkers September 2017: Addressing the global burden of obesity and undernutrition through integrated systems thinking and policy coherence
Professor Boyd Swinburn and Dr Anne Marie Thow explored frameworks that can facilitate a more integrated approach to addressing the problem of the co-existence of obesity and undernutrition in the world today.
View Professor Swinburn's presentation slides. View Dr Thow's presentation slides.
View the recording of the seminar: Addressing the global burden of obesity and undernutrition through integrated systems thinking and policy coherence.
Food Thinkers June 2017: The intersectoral approach to food and nutrition security in Brazil - how it was built and where we stand today
Renato Maluf, Professor at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London, shared his experience of building a National Plan for Food and Nutrition Security in Brazil.
View the recording of the seminar: The intersectoral approach to food and nutrition security in Brazil - how it was built and where we stand today.
View previous Food Thinkers and Food Bites on our YouTube channel.
City Food Symposium 2018: Connecting people with food policy
The 2018 City Food Policy Symposium explored how gathering evidence of lived experiences of food challenges - how citizens and communities experience, explain and respond to them - can inform more effective, equitable and empowering policy solutions.
Participants, including guests from government, NGOs, research, business and those in civil society discussed why evidence of experiences is important in crafting effective policy solutions to problems disproportionately affecting marginalised populations, such as food insecurity; obesity, diet-related ill health and malnutrition; food related environmental degradation; and precarious work.
The morning sessions included short presentations by experts concerned with different aspects of food – from obesity to food insecurity, the informal food economy to farming - about how these inclusive approaches can make food policy and food systems more effective and equitable. We learnt from experiences in the UK and internationally, from countries rich and poor.
The afternoon workshops featured the process of gathering and translating evidence of lived experience from:
the public (with a focus on developing a national food policy for the UK post-Brexit)
marginalised groups (with a focus on how to effectively address food poverty, malnutrition, obesity and diet-related diseases, nationally and internationally)
the food system workforce (with a focus on creating more inclusive food economies for farmers and labour on the land, nationally and internationally).
The output of the symposium will be a report bringing together a shared understanding of the value of gathering evidence of lived experiences and how this evidence can be most effectively translated into transformative action.
See the full programme here.
Download Professor Corinna Hawkes scene setting presentation.
If you would like to copy and/or redistribute these sides please contact email@example.com for permission.
This event was generously supported by the Worshipful Company of Cooks.
City Food Symposium 2016
The Centre for Food Policy held its sixth City Food Symposium on 12th December 2016 which considered how to develop, design and deliver food policies more effectively in the 21stcentury and in the wake of Brexit.
The programme of events
Watch videos of the 2016 event
City Food Symposium 2015
The Centre for Food Policy held its fifth City Food Symposium on 14th December 2015 focusing on the food and agricultural implications of the UK potentially leaving the EU.
Read the 2015 report
Find out more about the 2015 event.
City Food Symposium 2014 The Centre for Food Policy held its fourth City Food Symposium on 15 December 2014 focusing on Sustainable Diets, kindly supported by the Worshipful Company of Cooks.
Read the 2014 report
Find out more about the 2014 event.
City Food Symposium 2012 The Centre for Food Policy held its third City Food Symposium on 12 December 2012 focusing on the state of food policy in local practice, kindly supported by the Worshipful Company of Cooks.
Read the 2012 City Food Symposium briefing
City Summer Food Symposium: Ecological Public Health (June 2012)
This mini-symposium discussed whether ecological public health - which proposes that human and eco-systems health are co-dependent - needs to be the central policy framework. The event was chaired by Dr Fiona Sim and incorporated presentations from Dr Caroline Lucas, Dr John Middleton, Dr David Pencheon, and Dr Geof Rayner.
Caraher, M. and Machell, G. (2012).
Defining food co-ops.
In: Viljoen, A. M. and Wiskerke, J. S. C. (Eds.),
Sustainable food planning: evolving theory and practice.
(pp. 223-232). Wageningen Academic Pub.
Nestle, M., James, W. P. T., Annan, R., Margetts, B., Geissler, C., Kuhnlein, H., Schuftan, C., Cannon, G., Yngve, A., Popkin, B., Uauy, R., Jonsson, U., Rayner, G. and Lang, T. (2012).
Looking into the future, what do we see?.
World Nutrition, 3(4),
Clarke, L., Adams, J., Sutton, P., Bainbridge, J. W., Birney, E., Calvert, J., Collis, A., Kitney, R., Freemont, P., Mason, P., Pandya, K., Ghaffar, T., Rose, N., Marris, C., Woolfson, D. and Boyce, A. (2012).
UK: TSB Technology Strategy Board.
Caraher, M., Cowburn, G. and Coveney, J. (2008).
In: Lawrence, M. and Worsley, T. (Eds.),
Public Health Nutrition: From Principles to Practice.
(pp. 389-422). Allen & Unwin.