The knowledge connection for business

Client: The Northern Ireland Centre for Food & Health (NICHE) at Ulster
Knowledge Provider: Ulster University
Sector: Food and Drink / Agri Food

The Northern Ireland Centre for Food & Health (NICHE) at Ulster

In late 2014 the N. Ireland Food Standards Agency (FSA NI) were looking at the production of the 2015 Eatwell Calendar, a calendar full of a variety of delicious recipes submitted by charities and other organisations across N. Ireland.

About The Case:
They wanted to be able to display, along with the recipes, the nutritional analysis of each recipe in the form of Front of Pack Labelling. FSA NI hoped that the calendar would inspire consumers into expanding their cooking skills while still being aware of the nutritional profile of the meal. To provide the nutritional analysis of the recipes the FSA approached the Northern Ireland Centre for Food & Health (NICHE) at Ulster University.

About the knowledge provider.
Human nutrition research at Ulster University is conducted in NICHE, which was initially set up with EU structural funds in 1996 to provide greater understanding of diet-related health issues. NICHE is the largest research group in the Biomedical Science Research Institute (BMSRI) and one of the largest nutrition research groups in the UK and on the Island of Ireland with 19 academic, 4 technical and 13 research staff as well as over 20 postgraduate research students.

NICHE aims
• To understand diet related health issues by performing fundamental research in nutrition and investigating the relationship between diet and chronic diseases, and
• To investigate the role of nutrition in the promotion of better health and well-being in ageing

NICHE provides scientific and technical support to investigate potential health benefits associated with food products and dietary supplements, and for product development and health claims. Research at NICHE has made significant impact worldwide and has been used to influence health policies at home and abroad. Nutrition research has formed a major part of the University’s Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) submission in Biomedical Sciences (BMS) since 1989. The BMS submission, including NICHE research, has been ranked 1st in the UK in the RAE of 1996 and 2001 and 1st in research power in 2008. In the most recent exercise (REF2014), the BMS submission remained at the forefront of research in this area in the UK with 100% of research environment, 95% of research impact and 81% of research papers judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent. More information can be found at: www.ulster.ac.uk/niche

The results
The Eatwell calendar, containing the nutritional analysis of the recipes, carried out by NICHE, is now hanging in many homes across N. Ireland.

Sharon Gilmore of the FSA NI “For production of our Eatwell Calendar 2015 we needed to get recipes submitted by charities and non-profit food organisations nutritionally analysed to enable us to display Front of Pack Labelling information. We had worked in partnership with Ulster University, specifically NICHE, before in 2012 when they assisted the nutritional analysis work for our Caloriewise pilot scheme. This work was successful, therefore when this latest project arose we were able to approach NICHE to once again complete analysis for us. The work was completed in a timely and professional manner and we could rely on NICHE to provide the accurate, technical information we required. The calendar was completed in December 2014 and distributed to 60,000 consumers across Northern Ireland.”


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