Future Food Horizons 2014
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6th-7th November- NoWFOOD Centre, Chester


Jack Winkler

Jack was a Professor of Nutrition Policy at London Metropolitan University, until 2010. He is now a visiting lecturer at University College, London and MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge. He is a specialist researcher, policy analyst, writer, lecturer and consumer advocate on food, nutrition and health and is a Director of Nutrition Policy Unit, an independent consultancy to improve public health through dietary change, working primarily with public interest organisations.  

Jack is the founder, officer and/or member of most UK food advocacy groups, including Action on Sugars, Sustain, Consensus Action on Salt and Health, London Food Commission, National Food Alliance, Coronary Prevention Group, Joint Health Claims Initiative, Action and Information on Sugars.

He trained as sociologist at the London School of Economics and Stanford University and has had Academic posts at the University of Kent, Imperial College London, Cranfield University, and King's Fund Institute, working on a wide variety of economic and social policy issues.

Jack is the author of numerous articles, research reports, consultation documents, and briefing papers, on nutrition policy.  Selected recent publications include:

About Jack

Talk: Nutritional Reformulation

Among the important driving forces for future foods is health –-   the pressure for processed products with improved nutrient profiles.  This talk will provide an overview, from a public health perspective.

WHY?  (1) Manufactured foods and drinks provide most of the intake in most developed societies.  (2) Other nutrition policies have failed.  (3) The rise in diabetes makes rapid improvement in national diets urgent.

WHAT?  Through both new product development and, more importantly, reformulation of established popular products.

HOW?  By adding, reducing or removing nutrients in formulations.  The main emphasis now is on cutting excess intakes of fat, sugar, salt and allergens.  But deficiencies remain important problems in developed as well as developing countries, not just micronutrients but especially the essential omega-3 fats, DHA and EPA.

Through (1) technical adjustments, (2) substitute ingredients, (3) reductions in fat, sugar and salt.  Fortification can take place in the factory by enriching staples or popular foods.  Or in the field, through improving the profiles of crops and animals used as ingredients in food manufacturing.

WHEN?  Quickly or gradually?  While maintaining established tastes or re-shaping them?  De-habituation has been successfully applied in the UK salt programme.  But with the energy-bearing nutrients, crucial for obesity and diabetes, we need more rapid change.

BY WHOM?  By individual companies or by voluntary product sector agreements, as with the salt reduction programme?

HOW MUCH?  All reformulated products of course need sensory pre-testing to ensure consumer acceptability.  But more than that, there is a strategic decision on whether to market the new products as “healthy”, or to proceed quietly, unobtrusively.