British Nutrition Foundation

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British Nutrition Foundation
Legal statusRegistered charity
PurposeProvision of information on nutrition science
Region served
Most main UK food companies
Director General
Prof Judith Buttriss
Main organ
BNF Council

The British Nutrition Foundation is a British registered charity.[1][2] It has been criticised for conflicts of interest and for acting as an industry lobby group.[3]


It was founded in 1967 by Professor Alastair Frazer. In 1973 it held its first annual conference. It is based between Holborn and Chancery Lane tube stations. The BNF educational programme, Food - a fact of life, was launched in 1991.


According to its entry in the Charity Commission's register, the aims of the British Nutrition Foundation are:

  1. to advance the education of the public, and those involved in the training and education of others, in nutrition; and
  2. to advance the study of and research into nutrition for the public benefit, and to disseminate and publish the useful results of such research.[4]


The BNF's team of nutrition scientists conduct academic reviews of published research on issues of diet and public health.[5] They present their reports in the BNF's Nutrition Bulletin, as well as various Task Force reports, intended for both academic and lay dissemination.[5] The BNF also organises educational programs designed to provide accessible information on diet and health for children and young people, aged 3–16+ years.[6] The BNF's education website,, provides teaching and learning resources about food and nutrition.[6]

The BNF receives funding for its projects from a variety of sources, including contracts with the European Commission, national government departments and agencies; food producers and manufacturers, retailers and food service companies; grant providing bodies, trusts and other charities.[7]


Concerns have been raised about the BNF's close relationship with the food industry.[3] The BNF receives funding from almost every large food manufacturer and distributor in the UK, including Tate and Lyle, Nestle, PepsiCo, McDonald's and Sainsburys.

Furthermore, Paul Hebblethwaite, a member of the BNF board of trustees and its former chairman, has had "a distinguished career in the food industry working for a number of major companies including Cadbury-Schweppes and Chivers-Hartley".[8] He is also chairman of the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Trade Association.[8] Many other members of the organisation’s board of trustees and oversight committees are or have been employees of the food industry.[9]

The BNF is open about its intention to shape UK Government policy on food,[7] and this has led to concerns that it is serving as a lobbying group for the food industry which largely funds it.[3] Derek Shrimpton, former director general, has been quoted as saying: "In the period I was there the foundation was solely taken up with defence actions for the industry." He said that the foundation had been constantly engaged in frustrating government committees aiming to recommend reductions in sugars, salt, and fats.[10]


  1. ^ Charity Commission. British Nutrition Foundation, registered charity no. 251681.
  2. ^ "British Nutrition Foundation, Registered Charity no. SC040061". Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
  3. ^ a b c "Independence of nutritional information?". London: British Medical Journal. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Charity framework". London: Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Science Programme". British Nutrition Foundation. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Education Programme". British Nutrition Foundation. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Who we are, what we do". London: British Nutrition Foundation. 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  8. ^ a b "BNF News" (PDF). London: British Nutrition Foundation.
  9. ^ "Annual Report and Accounts" (PDF). London: British Nutrition Foundation.
  10. ^ Cannon, G (1997). The Politics of Food. London: Century. p. 356.

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