Food industry to review weight management advances

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Leatherhead food research Weight management Nutrition

The link between obesity and heart health will be a key focus of a food industry research forum next week, which will provide insight into some of the latest developments in research and regulation impacting the weight management sector.

Organised by Leatherhead Food Research, the focus of the forum day was selected by the group’s members, demonstrating a continued strong interest in how the food industry approaches a long-standing issue, said Roberta Re, Leatherhead’s nutrition research manager.

“It’s true that weight management has been around for a while, but obesity is not going away. We’re still getting bigger and the health impacts are widespread. Industry wants to find out about what new advances and science there is out there,”​ she told

Due to be held on June 23 in Leatherhead, Surrey, UK, the Nutrition Forum Day will focus on new developments and emerging trends in weight management, obesity and heart health.

Challenges for weight management

A key session will be an examination of the challenges facing the sector, given by Dr David Mela, a senior scientist in weight management at the Unilever Health Institute.

The main manufacturing challenges, he says, are: establishing criteria and alternatives for ‘traditional’ products; claims substantiation; and effective marketing:

“Most innovation has focused on formulating low / reduced energy products, though gaining and retaining strong consumer acceptance of these remains a common challenge. To date, however, there has also been relatively disappointing progress with more effective, novel food-based technologies.”

“Together with a more rigorous regulatory environment, this is prompting a needed reassessment of the targets and approaches used in 'functional' foods R&D, and higher standards for quality and quantity of clinical evidence. These issues will be considered, with some recent examples and their implications.”

Disease risk, health claims… and football

Other sessions include a focus on heart disease and the influence of diet on disease risk, by Professor Tom Sanders, Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics, Kings College London, as well as an update on nutrition and health claims regulation from Dr Mary Gilsenan, Head of Regulatory Services, Leatherhead.

The event, which is free of charge for members of Leatherhead Food Research, already has over 100 registered attendees, said Re, adding that football fans need not be deterred.

“We’ve taken out one of the breaks so we can finish early in time for the England v Slovenia match. We’ll have two flat screens showing the game for anyone interested in watching it,”​ she said.

More information can be found here​.

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