Nutrition and health research

health research

Nutrition and health research

What is the issue?

Good nutrition is vital for health. To support a healthy society and encourage healthy choices, the science and healthcare community needs to build more knowledge about the nutritional value of our food, and how to encourage consumers to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle.

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Why is it important?

Through the Nestlé Research Centre and the Nestlé Nutrition Institute, and our partnerships with other institutions, we’re in a strong position to make a positive difference to the health of society through nutrition and health research, and education.


  • In progress
  • By 2016 – (globally) Further develop and integrate the molecular nutrition capabilities and clinical strategies of the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences and the Nestlé Clinical Development Unit to help improve the management of diseases using nutritional solutions.

Improving access to knowledge about health and wellbeing.


Improved products, new business opportunities and research partnerships.

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What are we doing about it?

We believe that scientific research is vital for improving the nutritional value of food and the quality of the diet. We seek to support public health by investing in both individual and population-based scientific research to deliver better nutrition for current and future generations. This involves collaborating with leading academic bodies to build the world’s largest private nutrition research network.

At a global level, Nestlé carries out its own health and nutrition research programmes through the Nestlé Research Centre and the Nestlé Nutrition Institute, sharing our findings among the scientific and health community throughout the world.

We are on track to reach our objective globally. In 2015, Nestlé invested
CHF 1.7 billion in research and development, predominantly for food and beverage businesses, and filed 292 patents. Read our global report (pdf, 4Mb) for further details.

In the UK, we collaborate with a number of leading institutions to build our knowledge about the nutritional value of our food and its impact on health, and share scientific discoveries with healthcare professionals through our educational programmes.

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Supporting the British Dietetic Association

Founded in 1936, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) represents over 8,000 dietitians and dietetic support workers in the UK. In 2015, Cereal Partners UK joined the BDA as one of the association’s key supporters.

Across the UK, Dietitians play an important role in healthy eating, from advising on food and nutrition strategy at the highest levels to helping individuals make healthy lifestyle choices.

Cereal Partners UK employs and works with a number of Registered Dietitians and were accepted as corporate members of the BDA in April 2015.

Through its membership of the BDA, Cereal Partners UK can help the association share vital information on diet and health through a range of events, publications and other activities.

Vitaflo are also corporate members of the BDA.

Whole grain study with Newcastle University

Cereal Partners UK has partnered with Newcastle University to carry out a study of whole grain eating habits in the UK. The findings, published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2015, show that almost a fifth of the UK population don’t eat any whole grain foods at all, and more than 80% of us aren’t eating enough to have any positive effect on health.

Eating whole grains has been linked to a range of health benefits, including lower body weight, BMI and cholesterol levels. There’s also strong evidence that they reduce the risk of several chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

By analysing data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008–2011, the Newcastle University research team also found that people eating higher levels of whole grain may also have a less stressed immune system.

Read our commitment to encouraging whole grain consumption.

The key message here is that consuming more whole grains doesn’t require a major lifestyle change. Just small tweaks to the diet – such as replacing white rice and pasta for brown, or eating a wholegrain cereal for breakfast – can have a major impact on your health.
Chris Seal, Professor of Food and Human Nutrition, Newcastle University

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Other research activities and partnerships

We took part in many other activities and research partnerships to build a better understanding of nutrition and health during 2015. These included partnerships with:

• Leeds Beckett University, to evaluate the effectiveness of the PhunkyFoods Programme (see below).
• Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow, to undertake trials of Modulen, a supplementary nutrition for patients with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.

PhunkyFoods feasibility study

As part of our Healthy Kids Programme in the UK, Nestlé supports PhunkyFoods, an initiative that promotes the benefits of healthy lifestyles and balanced diets in primary schools. We recently funded an 18-month study carried out by Leeds Beckett University to evaluate the programme.

The findings showed that youngsters at schools where PhunkyFoods is run are more likely to say they enjoy fruit and vegetables, and have a better understanding of the importance of exercise.

The study also showed that, overall, teachers view the programme as a highly acceptable way of teaching children about nutrition and physical activity, which could help tackle poor nutrition and sedentary behaviour in children.

Read more about our work with the PhunkyFoods initiative.

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What’s next?

Some of the programmes and partnerships lined up for 2016 include:

• A partnership with the Royal Society for Public Health to conduct an impact assessment of our employee wellness programme over a three year period, and provide support for the development of the programme.

• A grassroots community intervention project in partnership with C3 Collaborating for Health, a chronic-disease prevention NGO, to identify barriers to leading healthier diets and active lives in two communities around Nestlé sites and empower residents to make changes.

• Cereal Partners UK continue their partnership with the BDA and exhibited at the BDA annual conference (BDA Live Mar 2016) and will engage in group/branch meetings throughout 2016.

• A range of activities through our continuing partnership with the BDA.Vitaflo and Nestlé Nutrition will also be exhibiting at the BDA annual conference in 2016, and attending various group and branch meetings throughout the year.

• A collaboration with Nestlé Nutrition and the Institute of Child Health, as part of a large, global clinical trials programme looking into the long-term health impact of reducing protein in infant diets.