Priority Research Questions for the UK Food System

Ingram et al. (2013) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

food system

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

Europe - United Kingdom

Why was it conducted at all?

The rise of food security up international political, societal and academic agendas has led to increasing interest in novel means of improving primary food production and reducing waste. There are however, also many ‘post-farm gate' activities that are critical to food security, including processing, packaging, distributing, retailing, cooking and consuming. These activities all affect a range of important food security elements, notably availability, affordability and other aspects of access, nutrition and safety. Addressing the challenge of universal food security, in the context of a number of other policy goals (e.g. social, economic and environmental sustainability), is of keen interest to a range of UK stakeholders but requires an up-to-date evidence base and continuous innovation.

What was the objective?

to identify priority research questions with a focus on the UK food system

What was the outcome?

a list of 5 research questions

How long did the research prioritization take?

No information provided.

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?

survey; workshop

How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: survey: participants invited to submit up to 10 research questions on any aspect of the UK food system, resulting in initial list of 811 questions along 12 topics. Step 2: workshop: to prioritize the top 100 questions, 4 voting rounds, participants iteratively excluded, merged, edited, selected and ranked questions, narrowing down the initial list to define top 100, following workshop the 100 questions were reclassified and grouped into 10 themes, followed by fifth and final voting stage: via survey: participants were asked to choose their 10 most important questions from the list of 100, participants were asked to choose one favorite topic most relevant and then select five questions from this topic and one question from each of five other topics, resulting in shortlists of top five priorities for each of the four practitioner-based stakeholder groups, shortlists comprised the three most popular questions from most frequently selected favorite topic and the two most popular questions from across the nine other themes

Which stakeholders took part?

Stakeholders from primary production (producers ranging from small enterprise cooperatives to large, nationwide producer organizations), food industry and retail (food processors, retailers, industry associations and private sector research), governmental policy (representatives from government and government agencies), non-governmental organizations (organizations, charities and foundations working across the food system on waste, consumer choice, nutrition, fair trade and other issues of security and sustainability), academics (crop and livestock scientists, food technologists, logistics experts, engineers, environmental scientists, economists, social scientists, nutritionists and knowledge exchange specialists). Survey: 61 participants. Workshop: 156 participants.

How were stakeholders recruited?

Participants were selected with the aim of representing all parts of the current UK food system, but with a focus on post-farm gate activities in particular. The survey was sent to all participants from earlier voting stages (who forwarded the survey to colleagues and group members) and to wider food system contacts encountered opportunistically.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.