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Northumbria University to showcase world-class research at Food Matters Live

28th October 2016

Food Matters Live is a vast cross-sector networking event bringing together over 600 organisations and leading professionals in a range of fields spanning from retail to nutrition and manufacturing to healthcare.

 The exhibition will give internationally renowned food scientists at Northumbria the opportunity to share their expertise with hundreds of food sector companies and organisations. The University will be highlighting its world-class food science facilities and research capability to businesses, with the aim of helping organisations to access cutting-edge research and development.

 Representatives of Northumbria University’s Healthy Living Lab will be present to discuss their research initiatives relating to public health interventions, including school holiday hunger, school and community breakfast clubs, nutrition within school and the workplace, and the associations between nutrition, cognition and physical activity.

 Recent research by Professor Greta Defeyter, Director of Northumbria’s Healthy Living team, has revealed that 71% of parents found it harder to make ends meet during the summer holidays compared with term-time, while 63% of parents found themselves without enough money for food during the summer. A staggering 93% of low income parents skip at least one meal a day to make sure their children are fed. More than 65% of parents on low household incomes say they often feel isolated in the school holidays due to being unable to afford to feed their families, or go out and entertain their children.

 Northumbria PhD researcher Jackie Shinwell is currently working alongside Professor Defeyter on a collaborative study with Brakes, one of the UK’s leading food wholesalers, evaluating its Meals and More holiday club programme.

 Professor Defeyter said: “Research by the Healthy Living team has demonstrated that skipping meals is a very real issue for many families during holiday periods. Research currently being undertaken as part of a collaborative PhD studentship with Brakes is building on this finding by evaluating the impact of Brakes’ Meals and More initiative, which supports the provision of holiday clubs with food and enrichment activities on the health, educational attainment and social and economic well-being of child attendees, their parents and carers.

 “The Phd studentship is a great first step for both parties to collaborate, to establish a rapport and develop a successful, long term relationship. Ultimately both partners benefit through mutual investment, research outputs and co-learning opportunities for the business, the student and academic supervisor.”

 Northumbria’s Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation will also be exhibiting the user-led research it conducts for leading private food, sport nutrition companies and national governing bodies (NGBs) for sport.

 The Brain Performance and Nutrition Research Centre will demonstrate how it has earned an international reputation for its research into the effects of nutritional interventions on behaviour while FoodTrac Scientific at Northumbria will focus on food manufacturing, production packaging and analysis.

 James Wilkinson, Business and Engagement Manager at Northumbria University, said: “Northumbria is a research rich – business focused university. Food Matters Live provides a great opportunity to show and share our research strengths and impact by making a measurable difference working with leading suppliers and manufacturers in the food industry.”

 Northumbria’s research in the field of Psychology, which includes its work on breakfast clubs, was judged to have outstanding reach and significance for its impact on society in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework exercise, which assesses the quality of research in UK universities.

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