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Our mission is to improve the quality of food and nutrition – and thus improve people's lives, the health of society and global sustainability.

At Reading, we are at the forefront of this vital work and, in partnership with government, industry and commerce, our research teams improve the processing of raw materials and products to benefit food quality, enhance health and ensure safety.


World-leading research environment, quality and impact

We have long-standing international recognition for the quality of our research. In the latest Research Excellence Framework, 95% of our research was deemed to be of international standing (REF 2021, combining 4*, 3* and 2*submissions – Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Sciences).

Our research is at the heart of Reading's Food and Health research themes and the newly-formed Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health, which extends our capabilities along the food chain from farm-to-fork and beyond to exploring research that underpins the impacts of diet on health.

We are uniquely placed to study what influences the food choices we make and how the nutrition they provide impacts on cardiovascular, metabolic and neurodegenerative disorders. We are also interested in the impact of food production on the world around us, through areas such as sustainable processing, development of functional foods, reduction of food waste, and exploitation of unavoidable food waste and processing by-products.

Learn more about research at Reading

Our research groups

Hugh Sinclair Human Nutrition Research Group

Human nutrition research is key to understanding and improving health in society. The Hugh Sinclair Human Nutrition Group was established in 1995 from an endowment of funds from the estate of Hugh Sinclair, a passionate and pioneering advocate for human hutrition research, in particular the role of essential fatty acids in cardiovascular health.

Our research focuses on the relationship between the food we eat and the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline and cancer. This research is crucial to exploring and understanding the links between diet and disease, and developing strategies that will help ensure healthier and more nutritious food for all.

Our researchers are from multidisciplinary backgrounds, and we employ approaches from laboratory to clinical studies to examine the functions of dietary lipids, antioxidants, plant phytochemicals on atherosclerosis, inflammation, insulin resistance and obesity, and neurodegeneration at the molecular, cellular and population levels, including the influence of diet-genotype interactions.

Find out more about the Hugh Sinclair Unit

Food Research Group

Food quality is of fundamental interest to all of us, toward a healthy diet that is safe, nutritious and delivered with great taste, texture and appearance. The Food Research Group aims to lead innovative food research to enable the sustainable development and manufacture of food products to deliver healthy diets that meet the preferences and needs of a growing population.

Our research fits into four main areas:

  • food chemistry
  • food technology and engineering
  • waste valorisation
  • food quality and consumer value.

In each of these areas, we seek to improve the quality and sustainability of food products through multidisciplinary research that includes evaluation and optimisation of flavour, structure and functionality, the development of functional ingredients for health, and the application of sensory science to probe consumer preferences, acceptance and needs.

Food Microbial Sciences Research Group

Microbes in food, in the case of probiotic bacteria, can be of enormous benefit to our health. However, pathogenic bacteria that are food-borne can be extremely harmful. Our research explores the role of gut microbiology in health and seeks to better understand the mechanisms of stress resistance in bacterial pathogens towards insuring food safety.

A major area of our research is focused on gut microbiota, from a standpoint of their impact on certain clinical states (ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, peptic ulcers, autistic spectrum disorders) and the rationale for dietary intervention with respect to lipid metabolism, obesity and insulin resistance.

We apply a range of approaches, from microbial physiology and molecular based detection procedures, in vitro gut fermentation models, through to sophisticated NMR metabolomic and metabonomic studies based around clinical trials with volunteers to assess the influence of biomolecular approaches to gut microbes on gut flora.


PhD study

Join a vibrant community of researchers in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences. We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit around your needs.

Meet the team

Our expert staff engage in research that tackles key global challenges. They tailor their teaching to reflect the latest trends and technologies. 


Work with us

We can provide you with technical services, research partners, scientific facilities, and access to our experts and graduates to take your food business to the next level.

Athena SWAN Silver Award