Food and Society

The Food and Society Group, headed by Professor Lynn Frewer, is focused on research in all areas of food and society, including those areas which require transdiciplinary collaboration between the social and natural sciences. Activities within the group also focus translating the results of research into actionable policy recommendations. In the future, an important research theme for the group will be food security. FAO  has defined food security as follows: “when all people, at all-time have physical and economic access to sufficient and safe nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active healthy life”.  Food security therefore encompasses food safety, healthy eating,  sustainable food production and consumer choices, as well as the development of evidence based and inclusive policies to promote a safe, nutritious, and sustainable food supply. Researchers in the Food and Society Group work with primary producers, industry and other key stakeholders, as well as consumers, to identify important policy issues which may influence the future security of our food. Much of our research is funded by the European Commission, and contributes to European competiveness or global food security global in terms of policy impact. National activities (for example, those funded by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) focus on measuring and assessing consumer behaviours. We are also aiming to increase our activities in South East Asia, using Newcastle’s Singapore campus as a springboard.

Key research areas include:

  • Understanding and measuring societal and individual responses to risks and benefits associated with food, (including nutrition and healthy dietary choices, sustainable consumption and reduction of food waste, and safety).  
  • Developing and testing risk (benefit) communication strategies and other public health interventions related to food choice
  • Employing qualitative and quantitative methodologies to understand attitudes and behaviours related to food, (for example, in relation microbiological food hazards, personalised nutrition, food authenticity and societal and consumer responses to emerging food production technologies, behaviour change and food waste)
  • Stakeholder analysis and scientific foresight regarding research agenda setting, policy and governance in the area of emerging food technologies, and food and agricultural policy issues.
  • Adapting and applying systematic literature review methodologies to social science publications in the area of consumers and food choice
  • Developing new methodologies for assessing socio-economic impacts of food risks and other food issues.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of public engagement in the agrifood sector, as well as measuring policy impact of stakeholder and citizen consultation

We aim to work with a range of researcher collaborators from different disciplines (both from the natural and social sciences) and sectors (drawn from the farming community, industry and other stakeholder groups as well as academia) to address the increasingly urgent issue of food security. Over the next 10 years, we will continue to strive to integrate and translate the results of our research activities to provide the evidence upon which future food security policy can be built, and which will build the foundation for research-led teaching programmes.


Food & Society

Dr Iain Brownlee

Karl Christensen
Industry Development Manager

Professor Lynn Frewer
Professor of Food & Society

Dr Thomas Hill
Senior Lecturer in Nutrition

Dr Helen Kendall
Viscount Runciman Research Fellow

Dr Sharron Kuznesof

Dr Paul Naughton
Teaching Fellow

Dr Luca Panzone
Lecturer in Consumer Behaviour

Professor Chris Seal
Prof of Food & Human Nutrition

Research Projects:

Research Postgraduates: 

Ian Boffey, Charline Jacquinet, Audrey Rankin, Bshair Alharthi

Learning Opportunities:


BSc Food and Human Nutrition (Newcastle)

BSc Food and Human Nutrition (Newcastle at Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore)

BSc Food Marketing and Nutrition


MSc Advanced Food Marketing