Anne Miller

Dr Anne Miller

Associate Director - Research

Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network


Entries with tag uk food security .

UK Food Security Research- an urgent request for your help!


UK Food Security Research- an urgent request for your help!


We are currently working with the UK Global Food Security (GFS) Programme to identify key unanswered research questions which the UK Food System needs to address and I would like to ask for your help with this.

If you can spare just a few minutes to read and think about this message and then respond to me directly at with your company and contact details, I will make sure that your thoughts are fed into the expert group who are currently engaged on this project, which will ultimately shape future research on food security (*see below for more details on the process).


Much of the recent focus in food security discussions has centred on the production of food and key research needs in agriculture. However, GFS are keen to widen this to incorporate activities throughout the food system, from processing to packaging, distribution, retail and consumption of food.  So the focus of this project is on the UK Food system over the next 10-15 years, considering food consumed within the UK, whatever its origins.


If you are working in any part of the food supply system please let me know what you consider to be key questions that are answerable by research but for which we currently have insufficient knowledge. The following criteria apply when formulating questions:


They must:

- be answerable through a realistic research design.

- have a factual answer that does not depend on value judgments.

- address important gaps in knowledge.

-  be of a spatial and temporal scope that reasonably could be addressed by a research team.

- not be formulated as a general topic area.

-  not be answerable with ‘it all depends’.

- not be answerable by yes or no (i.e. not ‘is X better for food safety than Y’) except if   questioning a precise statement (‘does the earth go round the sun?’).

-  if related to impact and interventions, contain a subject, an intervention, and a measurable outcome.


Example questions

These illustrate the type of questions we are after, but please don’t feel restricted to these categories or subjects. This is entirely your call.


- What constrains consumer acceptance of substitutes for traditional but scarce/unsustainable products?

- How do you measure the volatility in supply security?

- How do recent price fluctuations in food staples affect the diets and nutrition of the poorest sector of UK society?

- How effective is the sale of grade B fruit and vegetables for reducing food waste and increasing uptake of “5 a day”?

- What are the most cost-effective and efficient ways of capturing low-grade waste heat from the food processing industry?

- How sustainable is online shopping and home delivery compared with traditional supermarket visits?

- What determines the uptake and effectiveness of household organic waste collection?

- What would make a more comprehensive currency than simply carbon for assessing the breadth of ecosystem service values in the UK food system?

- What incentives will encourage farmers to increase the use of buffer strips along water courses to improve water quality?

- How will estuarine fisheries be affected by reductions in nitrogen fertilizer use?

- What are the health implications of using plant extracts to enhance the shelf-life of fresh fish?

- Which microbial monitoring techniques are most efficient and practical for new meat inspection legislation?

- How can we reduce the risk of enterobacteria developing in airtight damp-grain stores?

- How does domestic as opposed to international sourcing affect the acceptability of fresh produce?

- How can emerging crop diseases due to climate change best be managed without using additional pesticides?

- How can we modify potato supply chains to improve their resilience to future climate change?


* How this process works: The GFS research team will compile the long list of contender questions that will then be grouped and selected using a similar approach to that which was used in compiling the Top 100 Questions of Importance to Global Agriculture:

The company and contact details requested will be confidential and are requested simply to ensure that the final selection includes a representative cross section of different stakeholder interests, and for me to come back to you with any request for clarification.


Thanks for reading this and I look forward to hearing from you!


Anne Miller,

Environmental Sustainability KTN.

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