Let us introduce ourselves:

We are Food Databanks National Capability (FDNC), based at The Quadram Institute in Norwich. Our overall purpose is to provide new and updated data and knowledge on food composition and intake. This data enables the UK to deliver nutritional policy and high-quality science and supports current and emerging national needs in nutrition (food composition & intake), health (e.g., obesity, healthy aging), and sustainability (environmental and food security). 

Our data and tools are used in four strategic areas: Research and Innovation; Industry; Healthcare and Consumers; and Policy – to help shape the move to more healthy and sustainable food choices as part of the National Food Strategy.

Our key objectives are to:

  • Provide improved delivery of food information, including composition data on nutrients, bioactives.
  • Develop and apply new validated tools and methodologies for dietary assessment, and data integration, analysis and visualisation.
  • Establish and develop a new UK Node for the proposed Food Nutrition Health Research Infrastructure (FNHRI)
  • Provide training and deliver stakeholder and community engagement in the areas of; exploitation of data and knowledge in food and health research applications. using food composition data for food labelling, food and nutrient intake and nutrition research.

Who uses our work?

Food composition data are the fundamental evidence base for nutrition science and extensively used in the public health domain. Our data, databases and tools underpin the understanding of the relationships between diet and health, essential for the development of nutrition‐based health programmes and research. They are used across multiple fields, both nationally and internationally, including dietetics, food technology, biomedical research, and public health policy.

FDNC data is vital for UK public health with respect to understanding the patterns and trends in food composition and consumption, as well as in the development of healthier food products.

Figure from M. H. Traka et al. Nutrition Bulletin 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/nbu.12433

Now, and into the future

We continue to deliver food composition data, by way of McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods and the Integrated Dataset (CoFIDS), in book form, excel and via a searchable website https://quadram.ac.uk/UKfoodcomposition/login-register/

As we move into the future these data will be updated and enhanced with specialised datasets, to include vegan and branded foods. We will further develop our links to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS, based in MRC Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge), which is a rolling programme of continuous, cross-sectional survey of food consumption, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the UK general population.

Working with academic and commercial partners we are developing new and enhanced tools around dietary intake assessment (e.g., integration of activity and sleep data from wearables in dietary assessment apps; developing web-enabled analytical tools for food frequency questionnaires (FFQs).

We are in the process of connecting our nutrient data with bioactive composition data from our eBASIS database, which will allow, for the first time dietary intake assessment of bioactives to be estimated alongside nutrients.

We are excited in recent advances in information technologies, the increasing use of ‘big data’ and the development of mobile devices and wearables, which leads to our current projects in personalised nutrition and developing the exploitation of food composition data in new ways.