Government-funded research to help reduce NHS spending on diet-related illness by cutting the amount of salt and fat in cheese is underway at Sheffield Hallam University.
The three-year project is being carried out in the University’s National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering following a £580,000 grant from Innovate UK, the government’s science and technology agency.
The research will look into ways of reducing salt and fat specifically in cheese in baked products without compromising on taste, smell and touch of the food and the eating experience for the consumer. Researchers will work with leading food manufacturers Greencore and Arla Foods on the project.
The National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering has received £250,000 for its contribution to the project funded by Innovate UK. Greencore are leading the project and coordinating the contributions from the other partners, Arla Foods and Imperial College London.
The aim of the project is to reduce salt and fat of products containing baked cheese, such as quiche, by 10% and 20% respectively, which if successful, will remove around 6 tonnes and 96 tonnes of fat consumption in the UK per year. This would substantially impact on the government’s aim to reduce diet-related conditions and the 9% per year NHS budget spend on diet-related chronic illness.
Martin Howarth, director of the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering, said: “The amount of fat and salt in our diet has a significant impact on the NHS. This important research will look at ways of reducing their levels, without having a detrimental effect on taste and product quality.
“This long term research, backed by major partners in the food sector, is a significant project for the Centre and Hallam University and is part of £4.4m of funding awarded to the centre over the last 18 months. Other projects awarded to the centre include investigations on energy efficiency, process control systems, waste processing and rice milling and valorisation of rice processing.”