From sustenance to sustainability, food is central to global health and wealth. Today, with the global food system facing unprecedented pressures, the University of Leeds brings together world-class researchers to help tackle the food challenges created and faced by our growing population.

Drawing on expertise from food science and nutrition, biological sciences, climate, water, agriculture, data, engineering, health and social science, Food@Leeds has a track record of research which makes a transformative difference, from influencing policy, collaborating with industry on R&D and innovation, and working with local communities globally.

Key strengths 

Key areas of work include:

Agriculture and Food Production Systems
Food Informatics
Food Reassurance
Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing
Food Availability and Sustainability 

Facts and figures 

  • the global food industry is the world’s largest industry. The UK sector alone is worth £189bn*. It is also the biggest land and water user (*Defra Food Statistics Pocketbook, 2015)
  • worldwide a billion people are malnourished yet the prevalence of obesity nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008.
  • in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework the impact of food science research at Leeds was highly ranked, with all work being rated as internationally excellent or world leading
  • the University is home to both the UK champion for Global Food Security and two of the most highly cited food scientists in the world (top 1%)
  • we have strong research links with top ranking universities in Asia, Africa, America Australasia and Europe, including a strategic alliance with Jiangsu University, which  has established a UK-China Joint Laboratory on Remote and Non-invasive, Non-destructive sensing for Food Quality and Safety
  • the development of novel intervention tools ‘myfood24’ and ‘MyMealMate’ has provided new insights into diet and behaviour change
  • we have 117 members of staff working across the theme


Food@Leeds works with a broad range partners, including:

  • Arla Foods UK PLC
  • Asda
  • Avanda Biosystems
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC)
  • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Department of Health (DH)
  • Exnor Quality Foods
  • Innovate UK
  • Kellogg Company
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Nestlé UK Ltd
  • P&G

Major projects 

Ground-breaking livestock innovation centre launched
The Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIELivestock) has been allocated £31.7 million funding from the Government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to set up state-of-the-art facilities across the UK, providing the livestock industry with world-beating access to research.

UK-China joint laboratory in non-invasive sensing
Leeds - Jiangsu Universities joint laboratory agreement will mean collaboration between the two organisations in the field of remote and non-invasive, non-destructive sensing for food quality and safety, which will maximise the resources and facilities in both universities.

Integrating perspectives on consumer perceptions of food safety, nutrition and waste
ESRC Funded Seminar Series on Food Options, Opinions and Decisions (FOOD) aims to understand and improve UK consumers’ decisions about nutrition, food safety, and domestic food waste, by using the modern view of food security for developed countries, defining it as access to food that is nutritious, affordable, safe, and sustainable, while producing minimum domestic waste. Better food safety and reduced food waste are high priority for the EU. 

UK champion for global food security
Leeds provides government advisors, including the UK Champion for Global Food Security. Professor Tim Benton takes on this role and acts as a leader, coordinator and facilitator of the programme and acts as an ambassador both for the programme and the area, facilitating knowledge exchange between research and stakeholders in government, industry and society.

WHO collaborating centre in nutritional epidemiology
The School of Food Science and Nutrition has been selected by the World Health Organisation to become the first WHO collaborating centre in nutritional epidemiology, and have produced a report analysing the trans fatty acid content of UK diets using the National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

Key people

Theme Lead 
Professor Helen Miller
Professor of Animal Bioscience

Food Availability Lead
Professor Andy Challinor 
Professor of Climate Impacts

Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing Lead
Professor Gary Williamson
Professor of Functional Foods

Food in Mind Leads
Professor Andrew Hill
Professor of Medical Psychology

Professor Louise Dye
Professor of Nutrition & Behaviour

Food Reassurance Lead
Professor Malcolm Povey
Professor of Food Physics

Food Informatics Lead
Professor Janet Cade
Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology and Public Health

School of Food Science and Nutrition 
Professor Michael Morgan
Head of School, Food Science and Nutrition


Liz Liversedge

Case studies

Read more about the impact of Leeds' Food research in a selection of case studies based on our submission to the REF 2014.

Improving global food security through cost effective re-use of safe wastewater

Raising public awareness of the risks of caffeine intake during pregnancy

Find out more 

Read more about our current research and expertise