Pile of food packaging waste

The Food Cultures in Transition research group will explore food and drink from every angle with researchers from all areas of the University

  • 22 May 2020
  • 3 min read

A unique research team looking at some of the biggest questions facing society’s use of food is launched at the University of Portsmouth this week.

The Food Cultures in Transition research group will explore food and drink from every angle with researchers from all areas of the University – science, social science, the humanities, business and law, technology and the creative industries.

The group will undertake globally significant research and innovation programmes into how food impacts everyday aspects of private and professional lives including producing, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, retail, cooking, disposal of food and consumer trends and behaviour.

We are concerned with changes that affect individual food choices, local provision of food and global food systems. We have links with the food and drink industry, policy makers, local government, and campaigners across the world, particularly in less developed countries. The work of the group aligns with nearly all of the UN Sustainability Goals.

Professor Lisa Jack, Lead academic for the Food Cultures in Transition research group

They will also work with industry and government to develop bespoke approaches that provide insight, understanding and innovation that can be applied for the benefit of their customers as well as to the benefit of wider society.

Professor Lisa Jack, lead academic for the Food Cultures in Transition research group, said: “Every aspect of human life is affected by the ways in which people produce, distribute and consume food and drink.

“We are concerned with changes that affect individual food choices, local provision of food and global food systems. We have links with the food and drink industry, policy makers, local government, and campaigners across the world, particularly in less developed countries. The work of the group aligns with nearly all of the UN Sustainability Goals.

“The cultures we have created around food need to be healthy and fair, and environmentally sustainable. We look to learn from past and present food cultures to help design new futures for food that will sustain people and the planet.”

Although our work takes us across the UK and across the globe, we are very much part of the University of Portsmouth’s strategy to be a civic university, helping to transform Portsmouth to meet future global challenges.

Professor Lisa Jack, Lead academic for the Food Cultures in Transition research group

The Food Cultures in Transitions research group will launch with an online symposium on Thursday 28 May. The event will bring together University researchers with industry, campaigners, government and international academics to examine how to develop a sustainable future for our food system.

During the event, participants will discuss whether the coronavirus pandemic will lead to new behaviours, waste in food systems, food fraud and sustainable food systems.

Professor Jack explains why the University is perfectly placed to undertake this research mission. She said: “Portsmouth itself is a city of contradictions in food. It is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe yet it lies between the sea and fertile crop growing areas. The risk of flooding due to climate change exists but so does a high demand for local and sustainable food. The city has one of highest levels in the UK of food poverty, but also local urban greening initiatives, a large number of allotments and fishing. The Port is the fourth largest in the UK for the import of non-EU fruit and vegetables but the city has many diet-related health issues.

“Although our work takes us across the UK and across the globe, we are very much part of the University of Portsmouth’s strategy to be a civic university, helping to transform Portsmouth to meet future global challenges.”

To find out more about the Food Cultures in Transition research group, contact Lisa.Jack@port.ac.uk or Sandra.Johnson@port.ac.uk or follow the group on Twitter @FoodPortsmouth

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