Nutrition of thousands of recipes made available online

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

The database underpins research that informs current Public Health England dietary policy
The database underpins research that informs current Public Health England dietary policy
The nutrient levels of thousands of the most commonly eaten foods and recipe dishes in the UK has been made available online following a tie up between Public Health England (PHE) and the Quadram Institute.

The new UK Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset (CoFID) searchable website allows users to search the current McCance and Widdowson dataset.

First published in book form in 1940, the dataset has been available as an Excel spreadsheet since 2008.

It underpins research that informs PHE dietary policy, such as the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), which monitors UK intake of calories, salt, unsaturated fat and other nutrients.

Food manufacturers rely on the NDNS for developing or reformulating products, especially in response to regulatory changes or voluntary efforts designed to make foods healthier. It is also widely used by dietitians for meal planning and assessing patients’ nutrient intakes.

McCance and Widdowson dataset

The latest McCance and Widdowson dataset, published in March 2019, includes updates based on the 2015 nutrient analysis survey of fresh and processed fruit and vegetables with respect to fibre and additional data from elsewhere.

Errors found in the previous dataset have been corrected, while all other values remain unchanged from CoFID 2015.

“I’m delighted that the dataset is now fully searchable online, as it makes it even more available than ever before,”​ said Paul Finglas, Head of the Food Databanks team at the Quadram Institute. “We hope that users find the new format a useful way to access the data they need.”

The new searchable website for CoFID was commissioned following feedback from users, particularly the general public, who requested a way of easily accessing nutritional information for particular foods.

Prior to the launch of the tool, users needed to download and manually search through the full Excel dataset.

Key nutrient values

The new web tool allows users to enter search terms related to the food of interest and the website returns a list of relevant foods, showing the food code, name and key nutrient values (energy, fat, water, carbohydrates, sugars, protein).

Clicking on an item from the list opens a detailed page for the food giving all the available nutrient values.

The individual food page also includes comments on key nutrient values, such as the origin of the data, and is the first time that this information has been available to the end user.

This function is particularly useful for researchers, academics and clinicians who may need to assess how suitable the values are for their intended use.

Based at the Norwich Research Park, The Quadram Institute is a partnership between Quadram Institute Bioscience, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the University of East Anglia and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

The CoFID website is available to access here​.

A link to the new dataset in Excel form can be found here​.

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