New plan to raise food manufacturers’ nutritional skills

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Health

BNF launches online nutrition and health training for SMEs
BNF launches online nutrition and health training for SMEs
Small- and medium-sized (SME) food and drink firms will be able to raise the level of nutritional skills within their businesses, following the launch of online nutrition training courses by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF).

The courses were launched in response to a perceived need within the food and drink supply chain for more rigorous scientific information about nutrition and health. This need is particularly lacking in many SMEs, which are increasingly faced with pressure from their retail customers and regulators to reformulate products to make them healthier.

The BNF’s online training comprises modular courses based around food, health, nutrition and active lifestyles. They provide a simple means of learning more about food and nutrition, making using a mixture of text, photographs, video, charts and audio to support the learning experience.

Feedback is provided throughout the course, helping learners to plan their progress as well as identifying strengths and areas for improvement.

Basic nutrition skills

The online training modules are already being used by a number of individuals, as well as manufacturers seeking to provide their workforces with basic nutrition skills. The numbers using the resource are expected to rise significantly as the word spreads – especially numbers of smaller companies.

All courses have been written and certified by the BNF, which is a charity with considerable expertise in this field. The BNF exists to deliver authoritative, evidence-based information on food and nutrition in the context of health and lifestyle.

The  resources include ‘An introduction to healthy eating and nutrition’, which is an entry-level course in healthy eating and nutrition, covering different aspects of nutrition through six modules. Costing £35 per copy, payable by credit card and downloadable from the BNF’s website​, the course is aimed at health workers, pre-school workers, caterers and trainers, and others involved in the food sector.

This is the first in a series of courses that the BNF expects to launch, with subsequent courses being progressively introduced to provide more advanced skills.

Drummond Memorial Fund

The BNF was recently selected to take over administration of the Drummond Memorial Fund. Previously administered by a board of Trustees from University College London, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Edinburgh, the Fund was established in 1954 in memory of Sir Jack Drummond who made a significant contribution to developments in the application of nutrition science for public health.

During the Second World War Drummond worked as scientific adviser to the Ministry of Food and was responsible for the Wartime Food Survey, which was initiated to monitor the diet and nutritional intake of households and to inform recommendations for a nutrition strategy for a war-torn nation. He was knighted in 1944.

The BNF now plans to utilise the Fund to implement a comprehensive programme, including a series of awards recognising excellence in the communication of nutrition science in the following categories: undergraduate/MSc human nutrition studies; trainee teachers specialising in food and nutrition; health professionals.

Other activities will include GCSE and A-level awards; internships; funding for the development of online nutrition related training; and annual pump-priming research grants for newly appointed university lecturers and research fellows.

Professor Buttriss, director general of the BNF, said: “It is a real honour to have been chosen to take over the Fund and continue its valuable nutrition science work. I’m confident that Sir Jack Drummond would have approved of and supported the work our science and education teams will be undertaking in his name.”

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