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Our achievements

The British Nutrition Foundation was established as a charity in 1967 and our objectives, established at our foundation remain relevant today:


“Advance the education of the public, and those involved in training and the education of others, in nutrition. Advance the study of and research into nutrition for the public benefit, and to disseminate and publish the useful results of such research.”


In celebration of our journey so far, take a look at some of our key achievements over the years: 

A timeline of our achievements

The Foundation was established as an independent organisation to stimulate research and education in the field of nutrition. Professor Fraser's vision was to use nutrition to prevent - as well as treat – disease.


Key to achieving this was forging a closer working relationship between physicians and the food industry. Professor Frazer consulted with others who shared his vision, such as physician Dr (later Professor) Monty Losowsky, who maintained a relationship with BNF and became one of its Scientific Governors in 1981.


The composition of the Foundation's Council is testament to Professor Fraser's ability to draw together influential stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, to work together for the greater good.

Dorothy Hollingsworth, who led the Foundation from 1970-1977, had worked for the Ministry of Food during the latter part of World War II and alongside Sir Jack Drummond had helped to establish the National Food Survey during her time as a civil servant (1941-1970). During her time at the Foundation, she helped to widen its reputation as an independent authority on food and nutrition, and paved the way for international co-operation between Foundations around the world with similar interests.


Professor R A McCance was awarded the first BNF prize for distinguished research in nutrition. To mark the award, Professor McCance gave an inaugural lecture entitled Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow at the Royal College of Physicians. Other early recipients of this prize were Sir Rudolph Peters, Dr E Kodicek and Dame Harriette Chick, who in her 100th year introduced a presentation on her Studies on Rickets in Vienna 1919-1922. 

Nutritional Problems in a Changing World was held at Churchill College in Cambridge and was attended by 120 delegates from a range of backgrounds. 

The first BNF newsletter was sent out to all member organisations.

Dr Michael Turner became Director General in 1978 and was succeeded in 1982 by Dr Derek Shrimpton.

Almost 50 Briefing Papers have since been published, providing detailed reviews of important areas of nutrition science. Briefing Papers are written by BNF nutritionists and are reviewed by the Foundation’s Advisory Committees. For over 10 years, they have been published in Nutrition Bulletin and have been made free to download after 12 months.

The Task Force on Clinical Nutrition, was set up to investigate the state of undergraduate and postgraduate training of doctors in nutrition and the current state of clinical nutrition research in Britain. 

Professor David Conning was Director General for 9 years (1985-1994) and in 1994 was awarded an OBE for his work on nutrition education. He was succeeded by Professor Brian Wharton (1994-1997).

The patronage of The Princess Royal is highly valued and her active involvement in BNF activities continues to be a source of great pride to the Foundation.

The first National Nutrition Education Conference (NNEC) was held in Harrogate with over 230 delegates attending.

The first stage of Food – a fact of life, BNF’s food and nutrition programme for schools was launched by David McLean, Food Minister at the time.

In 1994 the Denis Burkitt award was introduced for medical and nutrition science students in the UK and Ireland to undertake a project in developing countries.

Others that have followed include a review of the antioxidants in food research programme for the FSA (2002), a review for the FSA on the factors affecting food choice (2003) and a formal systematic review for the FSA of the evidence concerning early diet and food sensitisation/allergy (2007).

The Foundation was honoured that in 1999 Professor Dame Barbara Clayton (Honorary Research Professor in Metabolism at the University of Southampton) took on the role of Honorary President, on the retirement of Sir Douglas Black (Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Manchester).

The Foundation’s Education Group was awarded an EU-funded contract to develop an interactive CD-ROM, Teaching Food Safety, and 60,000 copies were distributed around the world.

2003: The Department for Education and Skills contracted the Foundation and consortium partners to establish the Food Partnership programme, training secondary school food specialists to work with primary school teacher colleagues to promote practical cookery. 


This scheme continued to grow throughout England and ended in 2010. The Report of a Task Force, Plants: Diet and Health, chaired by Prof Malcolm Jackson was also published.

The Foundation was contracted by the Food Standards Agency to conduct a critical review of the psychological basis of food choice.

Food - A fact of life, a BNF website for primary schools, was launched with a module on healthy eating and modules on cooking and food skills. 

The Science Team worked with DEFRA on a project to scope research needs in the area of functional crops and ingredients. 

In BNF’s 40th Anniversary year Professor Robert Pickard retired after 10 years at the Foundation and was succeeded by Professor Judy Buttriss who had joined the Foundation as Science Director in 1998. 

BNF published a systematic review on food sensitisation and peanut allergy, conducted on behalf of the FSA, to inform government advice. 

With the help of an expert panel, BNF published a review on hydration and health in the Nutrition Bulletin and developed a healthy hydration guide for consumers.

For the Foundation’s 45th anniversary, BNF held a conference on Behaviour change in relation to healthier lifestyles, attended by our patron HRH the Princess Royal. 

BNF published its Task Force report Nutrition and Development: Short- and long-term Consequences for Health in May, together with a range of website resources to disseminate key findings.

4400 schools registered for BNF Healthy Eating Week, representing 1.75 million pupils. 

British Nutrition Foundation Director General, Prof. Judy Buttriss, was a member of the Public Health England Expert Group established to update the nutrient profiling model used to assess the suitability of product advertising to children. 

The British Nutrition Foundation, in partnership with The Association for Nutrition, The British Dietetic Association and The Nutrition Society, was a founding member of the Academy of Nutrition Sciences, a joint initiative to promote the importance of evidence-based nutrition science.

The British Nutrition Foundation responded quickly to the Covid-19 crisis, providing public information, guidance and support through it's website and social media channels, and to develop new digital education materials in its Food - a fact of life programme.

The 10th Anniversary of Healthy Eating Week - the British Nutrition Foundation's programme to celebrate healthy eating in early years settings, schools, universities and workplaces, which has reached an estimated 18m people since it started in 2013.

The British Nutrition Foundation was appointed by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to coordinate work across six new innovation hubs in nutrition science, that bring together the research community with industry and policy makers to identify and drive areas for innovation and transformation in food.