Category Archives: Diet and health

What’s Cooking, September 2022

What’s Cooking is an update on all things related to CHEFS: the Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster at Sheffield Hallam University. What’s been cooking since our last edition?

Check out our most recent research blog post, in which Jo Pearce offers her reflections on a PhD by published work. Jo also gives us a whistle stop tour of her research on how the promotion of healthy eating habits and dietary guidelines can impact on the health outcomes of women and children.

The next instalment of our online research talk series is coming up in October: ‘Children’s Food, Feeding and Inequalities’ will feature research presentations from Irmak Karademir Hazir and Filippo Oncini. The date will be confirmed shortly, with information distributed via the JISC list and our Twitter account (be sure to follow us: @SHU_CHEFS). Meanwhile, details (including full abstracts and the Zoom joining link) are available on our Online Research Talks page. The online talks are open to all, both local and global, students and staff, practitioners and public. Please feel free to share with your networks—all welcome!

After a summer break, our virtual research roundtables are back! The roundtables are an informal chance to check in, share updates, trade suggestions, ask questions and bounce ideas around. No prep needed—just a chance to meet up and talk CHEFS for an hour:

  • Friday 16 September, 3.30-4.30pm
  • Thursday 17 November, 4-5pm
  • Wednesday 14 December, 4-5pm

Research roundtable meeting invites (with Zoom link and meeting password) will be sent out shortly via the CHEFS JISC list. Not joined the JISC list yet? See information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage. In the meantime, please email me directly ( if you’d like me to forward a meeting invite.

Below, we have:

  • updates on recent CHEFS members’ activities (including a recent publication on baby-led weaning, research on household food waste in collaboration with Sheffield City Council—with a call for participants!, and reflections on the recent Nutrition Society Summer Conference);
  • resources/calls for papers/conference announcements (various calls for papers in relation to food/drink and sustainability, craft, time, communication);
  • the usual call for contributions and content for the November 2022 edition of What’s Cooking.



Recent CHEFS Activities

Jo Pearce and Rachel Rundle have had their latest paper on baby-led weaning (BLW) published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. In ‘Baby-led weaning: A thematic analysis of comments made by parents using online parenting forums,’ they report on an interpretive thematic analysis of messages and responses posted on three UK parenting forums, relating to complementary feeding. The analysis found that the characterisation of BLW by parents was varied but they described BLW having an ethos which included trusting the baby, role modelling, developing confidence with food and sharing the social aspects of mealtimes. BLW also offered an alternative to those actively seeking something different or a default for those whose baby refused purees or spoon feeding. BLW felt like a natural progression, with low parental effort for some, and a source of anxiety, stress, choking risk and mess for others. Many parents struggled to find a process (what to eat and when) within BLW, that they could follow. Finger foods were used synonymously with BLW but many mixed/blurred aspects of both TW and BLW. The authors conclude that the interpretation of BLW varies considerably between parents and a broader definition of BLW may be required, along with guidance on the process and purpose of BLW. 

Dianne Dean, Pallavi Singh, Scott Jones, and Nikita-Marie Bridgeman, all from Sheffield Business School, are working with Sheffield City Council to examine household food waste. Flats and households in four trial areas in Sheffield have been selected by Sheffield City Council to take part in a weekly food waste recycling trail, taking place over the next three months. If you live in a trial area (Woodseats/Meersbrook/Norton Lees/Chapeltown/Ecclesfield/Burncross/ Arbourthorne/Gleadless Valley/Darnall) you may have been given a food caddy to collect food waste in, roll of liners for the caddy and an outside food waste bin. The research team are seeking participants that live in one of the four trial areas and are taking part in the Sheffield City Council food waste trial scheme. The research team are interested in better understanding the process of food disposal in the household and data will be collected by means of diaries and semi-structured interviews. If you are in the Sheffield City Council food waste trial scheme, and would like to participate in the research project, please email Professor Dianne Dean ( or Dr Pallavi Singh (

Jenny Paxman reflected on the Nutrition Society Summer Conference, which took place in July in Sheffield, with a focus on ‘Food and Nutrition: Pathways to a Sustainable Future.’ The Scientific Programme Organisers comprised Jenny and Lucie Nield from Sheffield Hallam University, and Liz Williams and Samantha Caton from the University of Sheffield, and the conference was a collaborative endeavour with teams from Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council working together throughout. Delegates were effusive in their praise of everything from the main venue at SHU, to the social activities and of course the scientific programme! We welcomed speakers from all over the world, and it was wonderful to reconnect with colleagues and collaborators.

Jennifer Smith Maguire was interviewed by WineLand Magazine (which targets South African wine industry stakeholders) about her collaborative research on wine farmworker heritage stories; the article is due out in this month’s ‘heritage’ issue. Jen will also be presenting ‘Vina aperta and the quest for interconnectedness’ as a keynote at the online symposium ‘Towards an Eliasian Understanding of Food in the 21st Century’, organised by the University of Huddersfield on 7 September. Drawing on the work of Norbert Elias, the talk considers what we might learn about wine, and food more generally, by contrasting the concepts of vinum clausum (a view of wine as a static object, the consumption of which is reducible to discrete variables) and vina aperta (a view of wine as a processual ‘thing,’ the accomplishment of which is fundamentally bound up with the problems of humans’ interdependence with the natural world, others, and with themselves). The paper suggests that foregrounding the processual, interdependent character of wine provides valuable insights into what drives some producers and consumers to pursue alternative market relations that quench a thirst for interconnectedness, while offering potential routes toward more sustainable production and consumption.


Resources/call for papers/conference announcements

Call for papers: special issue on Food and Sustainability. Deadline 30 September.
The journal Sustainability (impact factor: 3.251) will feature a special issue on the topic of ‘Food and Sustainability’. This Special Issue will focus broadly on how the food and drink industry can meet the challenge of embedding sustainability into its business strategies and operations as well as nudging consumers towards making more sustainable food choices. Many food businesses today are under pressure to demonstrate how their products and services are making a positive contribution towards society. However, one of the biggest challenges for businesses is progressing sustainability initiatives from an added benefit view to an integrated, value-driven to business approach. Deadline for submission is 30 September 2022. Full details here.

Call for papers: XX ISA World Congress of Sociology- Economic Sociology of Craftsmanship. Deadline 30 September.
Andrey Sgorla is coordinating a session on the Economic Sociology of Craftsmanship at the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology. This will be presented in English and Spanish and will take place from June 25th- July 1st 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.  The deadline for authors to submit their abstracts is September 30th 2022 at 24:00 GMT. More information available at Session: Economic Sociology of Craftsmanship (XX ISA World Congress of Sociology (June 25-July 1, 2023)) ( Any questions about the session or call for papers can be sent to Andrey at

Call for chapters: time and alcohol. Deadline 4 November.
‘It’s Five O’clock Somewhere’: Time, Alcohol, and Other Beverages. Dr Peter Howland is looking for 10-12 chapters which critically explore the history and/or ethnographies of time and the role that it plays in the production, exchange and consumption of drinks and beverages (of any form) to be included in an edited volume. All disciplinary perspectives are welcome and it is hoped that this publication will be included in Routledge’s Critical Beverage Studies series. If you would like to apply to be included in this proposal, please email your name, institutional details, a proposed paper title and an abstract (200-500 words) to The deadline for applications is 4th November 2022.

Call for papers: Third International Conference on Food and Communication. Deadline TBC (details due in September).
The third conference on Food and Communication brings together researchers who work on the intersection of food and communication. The next one will be held in Örebro, Sweden, 13 – 15th September 2023 and the call for papers will be announced soon in September 2022. More information available at:  Food & Communication Conference – Food & Communication Conference ( and you can see some of the previous conference events on Twitter via the hashtag #foodcommunicationconf


Call for content for the next edition of What’s Cooking
The next edition of What’s Cooking will be November 2022. Please send content (research updates, calls for expression of interest, relevant calls for papers/conference/event announcements) to by 31 October.

CHEFS blog
Interested in writing a blog post? These are usually 800-1200 words and written for a general audience in an informal style. Blogs can revisit work you’ve already done (e.g., highlighting a recent output/publication); discuss research or research-related activities (teaching, public engagement, etc.) that you are working on; offer your informed take on contemporary food/drink issues or policy; provide a profile on your research. If you’d like to contribute a piece, please get in touch with Jen (

Want to stay updated? Follow us on Twitter (@SHU_CHEFS), subscribe to the blog and/or join our Jisc email list: see information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage.



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Filed under alcohol, Diet and health, food practices, food waste, research, surplus waste & excess food in society, sustainability

Reflections on a PhD by Published Work

image of diploma, cap and books

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND

In June, I successfully defended my PhD on the Basis of Published Work, ‘Teachable moments in the promotion of healthy eating habits in pregnancy and early childhood.’ My dissertation focuses on how nutritional exposures during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood can impact on both the short-term and long-term health outcomes of children, drawing together eight previously published articles. In this blog, I want to share some insights on the increasingly common, if still atypical, option of pursuing a PhD by publication. But first, a quick snapshot of my dissertation!

Pregnancy has often been described as a ‘teachable moment’, where women may have increased motivation to change their dietary and other health behaviours. Other teachable moments exist whenever families make choices around nutrition, such as breast or formula feeding, the introduction of solid foods and what to eat at home or at school. The thesis considers whether the promotion of healthy eating habits and adherence to dietary guidelines during these teachable moments have the potential to improve the health outcomes of women and children. The thesis was comprised of eight papers: article one was a service evaluation of a midwife-led intervention to prevent excessive gestational weight gain, articles two and three explored women’s feelings about their weight, diet, nutrition, and physical activity (PA) during pregnancy; four and five were systematic reviews and found some limited evidence that very early introduction of solid foods (≤ 4 months) and high intakes of protein in infancy may contribute to overweight and obesity risk later in childhood. Articles six and seven (in press) explored baby-led weaning (BLW) and found understanding of and adherence to the characteristics of BLW varied considerably amongst parents reporting using the method. A final paper explored why some families choose not to take universal infant free school meals. Overall, the research highlights that health promotion activity should focus on the long-term healthy eating habits of women as the gatekeepers of the family diet, whilst recognising the challenges that women face during and following pregnancy.

Following my PhD viva, my examiners asked me to add a section reflecting on the published works route and why I had chosen to complete my PhD in this way. I know why I had chosen this route, but as I looked for some references to support the reflection, I found there was surprisingly little written in the academic literature. Apparently, PhD by published works is becoming increasing popular, but neither the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) nor the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) publish statistics about the number of registered candidates, percentage of candidates or completions in the UK. Moreover, each institution publishes its own guidelines, which vary in the level detail provided to prospective candidates.

The major criteria of any PhD are appropriate methods, coherence, contribution of knowledge, critical appreciation, independence, and intellectual merit. As Powell notes, PhD candidates should also be ‘capable of continuing to undertake research in an independent and original way’  So, what does this mean for the published works route?

Well, for me, it meant completing and publishing between four and eight (N.B. this may vary, depending on institution) journal articles or book chapters. Each work needed to represent an original contribution to knowledge. Publications had to be first-authored by me, or I had to contribute substantially to one or more aspect of the research (study design, collecting data, analysis and writing up). Additionally, I wrote an overarching narrative comprising a literature review, a critical evaluation of the methodologies used within the publications from the perspective of my research philosophy and a discussion of the theme uniting the publications. Taking this route to PhD also meant that I worked independently. My advisor co-authored six of my publications and was very supportive but in terms of preparing the thesis, they just provided some guidance on which publications were suitable to use, the structure of the final report and some feedback on each completed section. My total thesis, including publications and a critical narrative had to adhere to one theme and total 70,000-100,000 words (again, this varies with considerably by institution).

I chose to complete my PhD via the published works route when I found myself in the position of being a university lecturer, but without a PhD. I could have opted for a traditional PhD, completed part time over six or more years. But given the amount of research I had already been involved with, and my existing academic and research experience, I opted for PhD by published works. A key advantage for me was being able to continue to research and publish alongside my teaching role. I could also complete the PhD without further reducing my part time hours.

Nevertheless, there are disadvantages of the published works route. First and foremost: it is not a quicker journey! It is still time consuming and competed with other demands of my job. There is also the added burden of accountability and self-motivation. Getting articles finished and published can be challenging and not all your publications will fit your theme, the time frame or eligibility criteria (for example, being published whilst in a previous job role).

This aside, the published works route should be an option all university staff are aware of—whether they are advising prospective PhD candidates, or (especially) if they are considering how to juggle a PhD alongside juggling part- or full-time work with family life. My advice would be to study your University’s specific guidance and find others at your institution who have completed their PhD work in this way, to decide if this is an option for you. Also, it helps to plan research-led teaching, for example, supervision of student projects, which will support you to complete publications in a timely manner. To quote Badley, in one of the few relevant articles I managed to find, a PhD by published works can ‘represent a formidable level of doctorateness’  but it is definitely not an easy option!


Jo Pearce completed her PhD at the University of Nottingham. She currently works as a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. Jo’s current research interests include complementary feeding, baby-led weaning, and school food.

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Plant-Based Convenience Foods: Consumer Perceptions, Nutrient Profile and Satiety

Sheffield Business School and the Business, Technology, and Engineering College of Sheffield Hallam University recently hosted a PGR and ECR Conference on the theme ‘Does Impact Matter?‘ Congratulations to Megan Flint, who was joint winner of the conference prize for the best e-poster presentation!

Megan’s poster, ‘Plant-based convenience foods: Consumer perceptions, nutrient profile and satiety‘ sets out a clear case for investigating consumers’ perceptions, drivers and barriers with regard to plant-based convenience foods. Plant-based convenience foods sit at a complex junction: on the one hand, plant-based foods may offer a route to improved population health and environmental sustainability; on the other, there are potentially negative health consequences attached to the ultra-processing often underpinning plant-based convenience food safety and palatability.

Megan’s research explores consumers’ health valuation of plant-based convenience foods versus their actual nutritional profile and satiating potential. Doing so offers the potential to assess and improve consumer literacy of plant-based food products, whilst also potentially contributing to new product development and the design of more effective marketing strategies.

Research Questions:

  • What key drivers and barriers are associated with readiness and intent to engage with PB convenience foods in different consumer segments?
  • How does the nutritional profile of PB convenience foods compare with meat-based equivalents?
  • How do PB convenience compare to meat-based equivalents regarding satiating properties?

Research Objectives:

  • To measure current consumer understanding, engagement and health-related motivations to consume PB convenience foods through a cross- sectional survey.
  • To explore consumer experience of PB convenience foods through semi-structured interviews.
  • To analyse and evaluate the nutritional profile of PB convenience foods against suitable meat-based equivalents.
  • To investigate the satiating efficacy of PB convenience foods against a suitable meat-based comparator through an acute feeding study design.

The research design spans three studies: a quantitative cross-sectional design with consumers, complemented by semi-structured interviews;  a comparative analysis of the health value of plant-based convenience foods and meat-based equivalents; and a single-blinded randomised, two-way crossover study will analyse the outcome of plant-based and meat-based test meals on participant appetite and satiety.

Check out Megan’s full award-winning poster here: Megan Flint Poster Presentation 2022

Megan Flint is a Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD student in the Department of Service Sector Management, Sheffield Business School, working with supervisors Jenny Paxman, Tony Lynn and Simon Bowles.

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Filed under appetite, Diet and health, eating behaviour, plant-based foods, research, sustainability

What’s Cooking, May 2021

What’s Cooking is an update on all things related to CHEFS: the Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster at Sheffield Hallam University. What’s been cooking since our last edition?

Check out our most recent blog from Jenny Paxman, which reviews the socio-cultural dimensions of the pandemic, highlights emergent inequalities, challenges and opportunities for change, and considers how these impact on food security, appetite, nutrition, and food behaviours. It’s a great introduction to SHARe: Sheffield Hallam Appetite Research, a new sub-cluster of CHEFS.

The blog site has recently had a major spring cleaning and update. Check out our:

  • New homepage, which highlights our three main clusters of work within the CHEFS, SHARe and SWEFS (Surplus Waste and Excess Food in Society) clusters;
  • New events page, with information on our monthly research roundtables, September’s Digital Innovation and Wine event (see below!), SHU Brew, and past events;
  • New research page, with an A to Z of highlights of recent member outputs. Have you got something to contribute? Please let Jen ( know—one entry maximum per member, plus a fun challenge to see who can complete the missing letters (A-G, O-P complete; we need H-N and Q-Z!);
  • Updated members page reflecting some of our new additions. Not on there and would like to be? Please let Jen know (

Below, we have:

  • updates on recent CHEFS members’ activities (including consumer perceptions of post-covid hospitality, a mentoring scheme for food studies students, a collaborative workshop on digital storytelling and wine, research on responses to breastfeeding in public (including a call for survey participants), and involvement in two bids to the Transforming UK Food Systems Call);
  • resources/calls for papers/conference announcements (including 15th May online event ‘Feeding Sheffield Sustainably’, upcoming May events/deadlines, a new report from the Food and Drink Federation, and two upcoming job opportunities at School of Wine & Spirits Business of Burgundy School of Business);
  • the usual call for contributions and content for the July 2021 edition of What’s Cooking.

Finally: a reminder of our monthly virtual research roundtables: an informal chance to check in, share updates, trade suggestions, ask questions and bounce ideas around. No prep needed—just a chance to meet up and talk CHEFS for an hour:

  • Wednesday 12 May, 3-4pm
  • Wednesday 16 June, 4-5pm
  • Wednesday 15 September, 3-4pm (after a summer hiatus!)

Meeting invites (with Zoom link and meeting password) are sent out via the CHEFS JISC list (September invite will be circulated shortly).
Not joined the JISC list yet? See information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage. In the meantime, please email me directly ( if you’d like me to forward a meeting invite.

Happy reading!

Cheers, Jen


Recent CHEFS Activities

James Ellerby contributed to Come Back Strong: Hospitality Insight Report, an industry report developed in collaboration with Airship, on consumer attitudes and perceptions in relation to returning to hospitality venues post-covid. James, along with dan Brookman, CEO of Airship also presented the findings via an Institute of Hospitality webinar on 27 April which further laid out the simple steps that businesses of all sizes can take to implement a ‘value exchange’ and introduce a simple loyalty model to generate immediate revenue and drive footfall as the sector reopens.

Jenny Paxman has been working with the SHU Press Office to support ‘Flourish in Food’ a mentoring scheme set up by Hallam alumni Cameron Rigg. The scheme includes 150 food industry mentors paired with Food students all over the country (including Hallam students and alumni mentors). The scheme aims to help students gain general food industry advice, and offer application and interview support, motivation and guidance, and networking opportunities within the food industry. Further details available on Flourish in Food’s website, or email

John Dunning, Jennifer Smith Maguire and Valentina Kirova (at Excelia) will be hosting an online research colloquium on 13th September, on the topic of ‘digital innovation and wine’. Relevant perspectives on the workshop theme of ‘digital innovation and wine’ may include but are not limited to:

  • Marketing and storytelling
  • Destination branding
  • Hospitality and tourism management
  • Experience economy
  • Cultural production and consumption
  • Sensory analysis
  • Provenance, authenticity and heritage
  • Practitioner and industry perspectives

Colleagues with no prior research engagement with wine as an empirical field of study are very welcome to take part. Wine is a fertile area of research, providing ample opportunity for inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural comparative work. Full details are available on the CHEFS Events page. A formal invitation to register to participate will be circulated in mid-May.

Cecile Morris and MSc Nutrition with Public Health Management student Amy Furness are carrying out research on emotional responses to breastfeeding in public. The first phase of the research is a survey, which will act as a gateway to recruit interview participants for a second phase of the project. The survey is accessible here. Please share widely; the survey runs until 31 May. Amy’s research is part of a wider project on attitudes towards breastfeeding in public. The health benefits of breastfeeding are well documented for mothers and babies alike, however, breastfeeding rates remain low in the UK. Negative attitudes towards breastfeeding in public are an important contributing factor in breastfeeding discontinuation. Well publicised examples of breastfeeding mothers being asked to cover up have exacerbated this. We know that some segments of the population are more likely to support / oppose breastfeeding in public and attempts to identify articulated reasons for being unsupportive of breastfeeding in public have provided some valuable background information. However, readers’ comments on articles reporting breastfeeding in public incidents provide evidence of a charged emotional context. Despite this, emotional responses from members of the public to breastfeeding in public have not been rigorously investigated and reported. If you have any questions about the research, please get in touch with Cecile.

CHEFS members have been involved with two recent first stage bids to the second UKRI Transforming UK Food Systems Call. James Ellerby, Alisha Ali and Jenny Paxman were involved in a bid led by University of Sheffield on ‘Creating a micro-urban food system for catalysing capabilities to grow, prepare and share healthy sustainable food.’ Jennifer Smith Maguire was co-applicant on ‘Pulses for health and the environment’, a bid led by Professor Martin Howarth of the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering along with SHU colleagues Bipro Dubey and Robert Bradshaw.


Resources/call for papers/conference announcements

Feeding Sheffield Sustainably, Saturday 15 May, 1-4 pm. Register here.
The Festival of Debate’s Feeding Sheffield Sustainably is a free, half-day conference that will happen virtually on Saturday 15th May, featuring talks from speakers working across Sheffield’s food system. The key purpose of the event is to bring civil society organisations who work in local food production, food waste and food poverty initiatives together to discuss how their work can complement and reinvigorate our approach to food in Sheffield. Speakers include: Prof Duncan Cameron (University of Sheffield, Institute for Sustainable Food); Dr Alexandra Sexton (University of Sheffield, Institute for Sustainable Food); Debbie Mathews (Manor & Castle Development Trust & S2 Food Bank); Gareth Roberts (Sheffield Food Partnership & Regather); Rene Meijer (Food Works); Sam Evans (S6 Food Bank); Martin Yarnit (Food Hubs); Sue Pearson (Heeley City Farm); Fran Halsall (Regather).

SHEFF-Yield webinar, Thursday 27 May, 6pm. Register here.
This is the sixth webinar from the SHEFF-Yield series that aims to teach Sheffield community how and why to grow your own food at home. Speaker Anton Rosenfeld from Garden Organic will give a talk on ‘Practical Organic Growing: Beyond not using chemicals.’

Sheffield Alcohol Research Group Early Career Alcohol Research Symposium, 6-7 July 2021 (online). Deadline for abstracts: 24 May.
This two day online symposium is aimed at early career researchers (ECRs), working in the field of alcohol from both public health and social perspectives. The symposium is designed to give ECRs a new platform to discuss and present their research, in an environment that facilitates research dissemination, mentoring, and networking. Abstract submission and registration are now open. If you wish to submit an abstract, please fill in this form no later than the 24 May 2021. For more details and a registration link, please see attached or visit the website. 

BSA Alcohol Studies Group Virtual Workshop, Wednesday 15th September 2021, ‘Thinking critically about lived experience of alcohol in social science research and teaching’. Deadline for abstracts: 30 May.
Our next study group event will be structured around the broad theme of ‘lived experience’ of alcohol, in social science research and teaching. We aim for this to be a supportive event for open reflection and discussion. We welcome 20 minute presentations in the traditional PowerPoint type format but would consider presentations in other formats which can be delivered online. The event is open to all. The event is free for BSA members. There will be a £10 minimum charge for non-members, though some free places may be available for non-members on request. Please submit your abstract of no more than 200 words by 30th May 2021 to the convenors or, or please get in touch if you have any questions or would like more information.

Gastronomy Summit 2022, Oxford Cultural Collective/Ulster University, 11-13 April 2022. Deadline for abstracts: 1 August.
The overarching theme of Gastronomy Summit 2022 is: Developing food and drink destinations in ways that benefit local communities. The Summit’s tracks (themes), which should be the focus of submitted abstracts, papers and posters are:

  • Food, drink and hospitality as catalysts for economic, cultural and social regeneration in urban or rural locations
  • Food, drink and hospitality as catalysts for equality and social cohesion
  • Food, drink and regenerative tourism
  • Food, drink and identity
  • Food, drink and hospitality as catalysts for sustainable development
  • Education in culinary arts and gastronomy (e.g. cultural contextualization, links to destination development)

Submissions may relate to conceptual or empirical research and should normally report on completed studies in one or more of the Summit’s tracks (noted above). Abstracts and papers reporting on substantially developed work in progress will also be considered. You may wish to consider the submission of a poster to report on work in progress. You are encouraged to include commentary on the possible application and impact of your research. The research committee encourages submissions from established researchers, as well as those in the early stages of their academic careers, including doctoral students. Deadlines: submission of paper abstracts (300 words) due 1 August, with full papers if accepted due 1 November; submission of poster proposals due 1 November. Full details available online in the Call for Submissions and Posters.

Food and Drink Federation/Santander UK food and drink export report: Food and Drink Industry Report 2021
The report looks at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK food and drink exports in 2020, and finds that exports fell by 9.7% in 2020 compared to the previous year, totalling £21.3bn, despite sporadic re-openings of the hospitality and travel sectors. The report includes a focus on exports to four growth markets with insights from specialists in Santander’s export team: the United States, and key members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The report also looks at the export performance of producers in the UK’s nations and regions, with insights provided by FDF Scotland and FDF Cymru. Report is free to download.

Job opportunities: Burgundy School of Business
The School of Wine & Spirits Business of Burgundy School of Business, in Dijon, France, is looking for initial expressions of interest, in advance of recruiting staff from September 2021. Expressions of interest (and/or requests for further details about the posts can be had from either Nikos Georgantzis or Steve Charters There are two posts available:

  • Research-Teacher in Wine and Spirits Business. This is a senior position for an academic from one of the business disciplines to carry out research and to teach. We are a small but dynamic, multicultural research team who work very cooperatively, and this would suit someone who enjoys working with others. The teaching load is to be determined, depending on overall responsibilities, but will be designed to suit an active researcher. A background in any discipline will be welcomed, but applications from those with experience of general Management, Strategy, Hospitality or Distribution will especially welcome, as will those from academics who have done work specifically in the field of spirits.  Experience in the wine and spirits is not essential, but a willingness to focus on the field is.
  • Research Assistant/Post-Doctoral Researcher. There is a post for a Research Assistant. This is designed either for a PhD student who is looking for some employment in the field whilst they complete their thesis, or for a Post-Doc.  The responsibilities will include assisting our researchers on their projects (especially one funded by the European Union) and a level of teaching, to be determined. It is expected that the successful applicant will have some experience in the field of wine or spirits (or possible more broadly food) and be willing to concentrate on this area in their work.  As we are a School of Business and anticipate that the applicants will submit/have a doctorate in one of these, but we would be willing to consider other disciplines if they were relevant to our focus.

For both positions good written and spoken English is essential (most of our courses are taught in English).  French is helpful but not essential, and support and teaching will be available to any non-French speaking person who is appointed.  A willingness to focus on wine and/or spirits is also a given!


Call for content for the next edition of What’s Cooking
The next edition of What’s Cooking will be July 2021. Please send content (research updates, calls for expression of interest, relevant calls for papers/conference/event announcements) to by Thursday 24 June.

CHEFS blog
Interested in writing a blog? These are usually 800-1200 words and written for a general audience in an informal style. Blogs can revisit work you’ve already done (e.g., highlighting a recent output/publication); discuss research or research-related activities (teaching, public engagement, etc.) that you are working on; offer your informed take on contemporary food/drink issues or policy; provide a profile on your research. If you’d like to contribute a piece, please get in touch with Jen (

Want to stay updated? Follow us on Twitter (@SHU_CHEFS), subscribe to the blog and/or join our Jisc email list: see information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage.


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Filed under Diet and health, hospitality, research, sustainability, What's Cooking?, wine

Introducing SHARe: Sheffield Hallam Appetite REsearch

As a Registered Nutritionist and appetite researcher at Sheffield Hallam University, the food and nutrition impact of the ongoing COVID pandemic has resonated with me.  We are only just beginning to understand the socio-cultural dimensions of the crisis; the emergent inequalities, challenges and opportunities for change and how broadly this impacts on food security, appetite, nutrition, and food behaviours.  In this blog I set out some of my thoughts and reflect on the relevance of our collective research expertise, as members of SHARe (Sheffield Hallam Appetite REsearch), a new CHEFS (Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society) sub-cluster, as we move into ‘the new normal’.

The coronavirus pandemic that spread across the world throughout 2020 has shone a light on human behaviour, social injustice, inequality, and the fragility each person’s own world construct.  Researchers globally are still working through the science and social science lessons learnt so far and what this means for the future: the so-called ‘new-normal’.  The pandemic has laid bare the glaring inequities in food security between and within all nations, whilst also highlighting the link between overweight/ obesity and ill-health, both chronic and acute.  It is well recognised that higher BMIs present a significant risk factor with overall poorer COVID prognosis compared to when equivalent patients contract the disease at a ‘healthy weight’.

The world-wide high prevalence of obesity and overweight continues to represent a significant global public health challenge.  BMIs have risen steadily over recent decades and according to the most recent WHO statistics 39% of the world’s adult population and 18% of those aged 5-19 years are obese.  How to support individuals and populations to lose weight, or even maintain a healthy weight, has been at matter of much debate.  In July 2020 the UK Government launched its most recent obesity strategy to address the issue.  As, with my colleague Lucie Nield, I argued at the time, the strategy is both under-developed and likely ineffective in eliciting wholescale change such as is needed.

Energy balance lies at the heart of our understanding of obesity and, in turn, weight management.  But for appetite researchers such as myself, the pandemic has re-emphasised that biological need is rarely what drives food and drink consumption.  We eat because its lunchtime, because we’re celebrating, because cake tastes good or out of habit.  Ubiquitously there are hedonic, social, habitual, environmental and other drivers, alongside biological ‘hunger’, that lead us to ingest specific food and drink items at particular times in certain quantities.  I still eat Christmas pudding, even after the turkey!

In COVID-times, we’ve seen the Banana Bread Renaissance. Vogue magazine framed this as a way to make the most out of ‘the circumstances’ of the pandemic, resurrecting a ‘make do and mend’ war-mentality; it is also part of a wider rise in home-baking during COVID. In addition, the home-baking trend is likely driven by a range of reasons, from running out of staples as certain items disappeared from our supermarket shelves, to increased time at home and furlough, to the need, for many, to occupy children suddenly out of school and learning from home.

By the end of November 2020 take-home alcohol sales had increased in Britain by 18.1% (that’s half a billion litres) but this was reportedly off-set by an overall reduction in alcohol sales due to hospitality closures and lockdowns.  In line with fears voiced about the potential health implications of increased home drinking in lockdown, WHO Europe produced an alcohol and COVID factsheet  that highlighted that alcoholic products neither prevent nor treat COVID-19, and alcohol consumption comes with other COVID-relevant risks including impeding good decision-making and, with heavy use, weakening of the immune system.  It remains to be seen whether the new levels of home drinking remain as the hospitality sector opens up over 2021, in line with the Government’s roadmap, and if so, what the longer term health implications could be.

The Government’s ill-conceived ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme has been shown to have had limited effect on the UK’s restaurants and cafés. It was met with opposition from leading health experts who feared it would drive less healthy choices being associated widely with fast food options in particular, and has been shown to have contributed to the second COVID wave.

The academic COVID literature emerging around eating behaviours and COVID suggests that emotional distress and poor quality of life during lockdown led to increased emotional eating and more frequent binge eating.  It has also been found that motivation to pay for and expend effort obtaining food (across categories) was highest in those with higher COVID-related stress and highly processed and sweet foods had high motivating value across a range of measures of motivation.  The lockdown effect has also been shown to be highly individualised.  The ZOE COVID Symptom Study app allowed researchers insight into the lockdown effect on healthy behaviours.  Findings have shown that for many with the unhealthiest lifestyles pre-lockdown, the gains and improvements made in diet, physical activity levels and sleep were greater than those who were healthier to start with.

So, what is the ‘new normal’ for appetite research?  A recent BNF guest blog captures the outcomes from an MRC-funded workshop I was fortunate enough to attend.  It outlines opportunities for reformulation and innovation for health, ‘Big data’ to improve our understanding of appetite, variability in response to obesity services and support for behaviour change.  The take away message: “Cross-discipline, collaborative research is key to driving change in this area.”

This is precisely the approach that characterises the SHARe (Sheffield Hallam Appetite REsearch) cluster, which has members from across SHU: psychologists; registered nutritionists; dieticians; exercise scientists; biomedical scientists; nurses; pharmacologists and more. The diversity of discipline of appetite research is well recognised and the wide range of research methods used has been subject to recent review authored by some of the discipline’s most significant contributors. As SHARe is reimagined as a new sub-cluster within CHEFS, the  Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster, we have a unique opportunity to enhance our contribution, furthering and expanding the cross-disciplinary and collaborative work being undertaken to examine the socio-cultural dimensions of food and drink.  We’re so excited to move forward working together.

If you’d like to know more about SHARe, or get involved, please contact SHARe lead, Jenny Paxman  For regular updates from SHARe and CHEFS and to hear more about events and funding opportunities join our JISC-mail list, subscribe to the Blog and follow us on Twitter @SHU_CHEFS.

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What’s Cooking, March 2021

 What’s Cooking, March 2021

What’s Cooking is an update on all things related to CHEFS: the Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster at Sheffield Hallam University. What’s been cooking since our last edition?

Below, we have:

  • updates on recent CHEFS activities (including developments in working with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust; a research output on Chinese wine gifting; new research on lifestyle interventions for women with infertility, and community engagement in alcohol licensing; the 2022 Nutrition Society conference; and a Horizon 2020 bid on food waste and vulnerable consumers);
  • resources/calls for papers/conference announcements (including a fully funded PhD on food insecurity; online events on drug history and harmful drinking; an archival resource of cookbooks), and the usual call for content for the May 2021 edition of What’s Cooking.

Finally: a reminder of the upcoming monthly virtual research roundtables: an informal chance to check in, share updates, trade suggestions, ask questions and bounce ideas around. No prep needed—just a chance to meet up and talk CHEFS for an hour:

  • Wednesday 17 March, 4-5pm
  • Wednesday 14 April, 2-3pm
  • Wednesday 12 May, 3-4pm
  • Wednesday 16 June, 4-5pm

Meeting invites (with Zoom link and meeting password) have been sent out via the CHEFS JISC list. Not joined the JISC list yet? See information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage. In the meantime, please email me directly ( if you’d like me to forward a meeting invite.

Happy reading!

Cheers, Jen


Recent CHEFS Activities

John Dunning is leading an application for the Department of Service Sector Management of Sheffield Hallam University to become a Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Approved Programme Provider (APP). This will mean that we will be able to run a range of WSET wine courses, which will provide great opportunities to widen wine study and research for our students, CHEFS members, DSSM colleagues and other interested parties. Further updates to come as this exciting development progresses. For more information or general enquiries, please contact Dr John Dunning, DipWSET, FWS:

Jennifer Smith Maguire and John Dunning completed the first output from their research on Chinese wine gifting practices, which will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming Routledge collection, Wine and The Gift: From Production to Consumption. Wine is increasingly popular in China, but familiarity with and knowledge of wine remain relatively low. Gifting plays an integral role in the expression of Chinese cultural values, as a process through which respect is demonstrated and social ties and mutual obligations are fostered. However, how does that process unfold when knowledge of the intended honorific meaning of the gift cannot be taken for granted? Semi-standardized interviews, complemented by photo elicitation activities, were conducted with a small sample of Chinese consumers of varying ages and levels of wine involvement. The analysis highlights the contingent and laborious accomplishment of gifting: a well-chosen gift involves a series of adjustments made by the gift-giver, to ensure the gift is calibrated to reflect the giver-recipient relationship, and aligned to the recipient’s capacity to appreciate the gift. In adopting a sociological perspective on gifting as consumption, the chapter contributes novel qualitative insights to existing knowledge of wine-related Chinese consumer behaviour.

Lucie Nield is working with the Fit 4 Baby Research Group based in Teesside and coordinated by Tees Valley Sport. The aim of the research is to develop a co-designed lifestyle intervention for women with infertility. The work encompasses a systematic review, focus groups and interviews with services users and specialists in the field of fertility to look at the existing evidence base and what an ideal intervention would look like. She is involved in the systematic review and on the steering group. A co-designed intervention will then be developed, piloted and evaluated with further review undertaken. A second ‘tweaked’ intervention will then be piloted. The project is funded by Sport England and the systematic review should be complete by early Spring.

Joanna Reynolds has a new PhD student, Filip Djordjevic, starting in March as part of the La Trobe University – Sheffield Hallam University collaboration. Based primarily at La Trobe in Melbourne, but with co-supervision from Jo Reynolds and Paul Hickman (SHU, Department of Psychology, Sociology & Politics), Filip will be conducting research into processes and impacts of community engagement in alcohol licensing decisions in Australia and the UK. He will be exploring several case studies in each country, with particular attention on understanding impacts of engagement for disadvantaged groups. If you would like to know more, or know of any examples of communities influencing alcohol licensing, please contact Jo Reynolds:

Jenny Paxman has been involved in a successful bid to host the 2022 annual Nutrition Society Summer Meeting in Sheffield (12-15 July, 2022). The competitive bid to host 400 delegates in the city across the four day conference was put together by Marketing Sheffield’s Conference Team, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and the University of Sheffield (UoS). The team in Sheffield brings together local expertise around the theme of food and nutrition and internationally renowned speakers with a view to exploring the pathway to a sustainable food future, looking at areas such as building ethical food systems, eroding nutritional inequalities and sustaining an ageing population. From Sheffield Hallam the conference team is led by Jenny Paxman, Subject Group Leader for Food and Nutrition at SHU, with support from Lucie Nield joined by colleagues from the University of Sheffield, Dr Liz Williams from The Human Nutrition Unit and Dr Sam Caton from The Institute for Sustainable Food.

Dianne Dean has been involved in a Horizon 2020 project bid: ‘A Systemic Approach to Reducing Waste and Producing Food with Improved Accessibility, Welfare, Affordability, and Sustainability that is Transformational and Engaging’ (AWAYSTE). Di, along with Pallavi Singh, Michael Benson and John Kirkby, are responsible for work package 1, which aims to build a deeper understanding of vulnerable consumer’s relationship with food. The research will focus on providing insight into how vulnerable consumers purchase food, what type of food they consume, what is the choice criteria, how they manage their food waste, if/how they recycle and understand their acceptance of novel food and sustainable packaging. This information will help guide other work packages in the project to co-create sustainable food products using new technologies that has the vulnerable consumer in mind.


Resources/call for papers/conference announcements

Funded PhD studentship on food insecurity; deadline 12th March

Opportunity to apply for a fully funded ESRC CASE PhD studentship, to a suitably qualified candidate, working in the field of food insecurity. Based at the University of Liverpool, working in collaboration with a local social enterprise, Can Cook, we aim to critically evaluate food charity, taking into account diet, food choice, and psychological wellbeing and will look at the optimum process to support food security at the scale of community and household. Further particulars about the studentship can be obtained from either Alan Southern or Charlotte Hardman at the University of Liverpool. Details of how to apply can be found on the University of Liverpool web pages here. The deadline for applications is March 12th.

Zoom roundtable on drug history, 9th March

The Alcohol and Drug Historical Society are hosting a round table on ‘The Past, Present, and Future of Drug History’. The event is free and open to the public. Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 5-7PM (Eastern Standard Time—note the North American time zone!). Registration is required: register here. Participants:

  • Paul Gootenberg, Stony Brook University, “The Globalization of Drug History, 1990-2020”
  • Miriam Kingsberg Kadia, University of Colorado Boulder, “The Historiography of Drugs in East Asia”
  • Emily Dufton, George Washington University, “Still Searching for the Holy Grail: The Long History of Medication Assisted Treatment in the US”
  • Lucas Richert, University of Wisconsin, Madison, “The Intersection of Drug History and Pharmacy History”

DARC research seminar on harmful drinking, 17th March

Drug and Alcohol Research Centre seminar by James Morris on ‘Why harmful drinkers reject change: coping and cognition in maintaining heavy drinking’ on 17th March. Details and registration here.

Digital cookbook archive

The Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. It’s Cookbooks and Home Economics Collection has over 10,000 vintage recipe books available for free in digital form (a useful overview introducing the collection is here).


Call for content for the next edition of What’s Cooking

The next edition of What’s Cooking will be May 2021. Please send content (research updates, calls for expression of interest, relevant calls for papers/conference/event announcements) to by Thursday 29 April.

Want to stay updated? Follow us on Twitter (@SHU_CHEFS), subscribe to the blog and/or join our Jisc email list: see information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage.

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A critical application of branding to promote acceptance of breastfeeding in public in the UK

picture of a couple and baby being breastfedRecent research by Dr Cecile Morris, Dr Peter Schofield and Dr Craig Hirst of Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) explores how members of the public perceive breastfeeding in public, identifying how different factors are associated with acceptance or opposition. They recommend adopting social marketing and branding as a means to improve the image of breastfeeding and to achieve long term sustainable behaviour of accepting of breastfeeding in public among the members of public.

Building on the above research, SHU doctoral candidate Anuradha Somangurthi aims to critically evaluate the existing UK breastfeeding campaigns and develop a social marketing and branding campaign that will more effectively target those opposed to breastfeeding in public. In this way, the research will contribute to increasing acceptance of public breastfeeding.

Why is it important to support breastfeeding?

Though breastfeeding is a natural process, mothers often require support to get started and sustain breastfeeding. The promotion of breastfeeding is the focus of World Breastfeeding Week, an annual event over the first week of August, and first celebrated in 1992. The theme of Breastfeeding week 2020 was “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”.

Malnutrition contributes to one-third of deaths among children under the age of five, often associated with inappropriate feeding practices during the first year of life. As per WHO recommendations, optimal breastfeeding practices include exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months initiated within one hour of birth and continued for up to 2 years of age and beyond. To achieve global nutrition targets and increase breastfeeding rates, the WHO recommends implementation of campaigns and investing in breastfeeding promotion and support.

There are a range of public health benefits of promoting breastfeeding, especially in reducing mortality and morbidity and improving the wellbeing of mothers and infants. Breastfeeding cuts the incidence of ear, chest and gut infections in children and this helps the NHS save £50 million each year. It also reduces the incidence of breast cancer in women.

Breastfeeding acceptance in public: the situation in the UK

Though the benefits of breastfeeding for improvement of maternal and infant health have been widely acknowledged, the breastfeeding rates in the UK remain suboptimal.

There are multiple factors which affect the mother’s choice to breastfeed or to bottle-feed in public. It is not only a mother’s decision or attitude that matters; a vital role is played by her immediate and social circle. One obstacle to improving UK breastfeeding rates relates to how breastfeeding in public is viewed. Researchers at SHU have found that some mothers in the UK experience embarrassment while breastfeeding in public and hence discontinue breastfeeding. This is echoed by the Infant Feeding Survey of 2010: 47% of mothers in the UK faced difficulty to find a suitable place for breastfeeding and 11% of mothers were stopped or felt uncomfortable feeding in public.

Reducing the embarrassment mothers can experience when breastfeeding in public, and promoting acceptance of breastfeeding in public are thus two ways in which to potentially deliver improved health for infants and mothers, cost savings for the NHS, and reduced environmental impact from the production and use of formula milk.

Why is social marketing useful for promoting breastfeeding acceptance in public?

A range of social marketing campaigns have targeted mothers, their entourage, and health professionals in order to promote breastfeeding in public. Social marketing and branding campaigns have been shown to have some success in changing behaviour and  improving public health as can be seen through different campaigns targeting quitting smoking, water quality and use of fertilisers, teen health and use of bicycle. For example, branding strategies have had positive results in reducing teenage smoking. Branding is different from traditional approaches to public health campaign. By building a positive association between the target audience and the campaign, public health branding can encourage individuals to not only adopt, but also sustain positive health behaviours.

Thus, social marketing can be a powerful tool through which to change behaviour of a target audience, provided the health promotion campaign is based on realistic expectations and plans that reinforce the intention.

What does this research explore?

The overall aim of Anuradha Somangurthi’s PhD research is to critically evaluate social marketing breastfeeding campaigns, in order to design more effective social marketing interventions to increase acceptance of breastfeeding in public. The research will explore how to encourage members of the public to empathise with breastfeeding mothers and think about breastfeeding in public from the point of view of mothers, and how to change the image of human milk.

The first step in the research is to critically evaluate social marketing campaigns in relation to theoretical models of behaviour change. On that basis, a social marketing and branding campaign can be developed, which targets members of the public opposed to breastfeeding in public. Pilot testing of that campaign will determine the impact on levels of acceptance towards breastfeeding in public. The information from the pilot testing can then be used to develop, deploy and evaluate a larger scale social marketing campaign aimed at increasing acceptance of breastfeeding in public.

Potential impact of this research

The potential impact of this research would be increased acceptance of breastfeeding in public, which in turn could increase breastfeeding rates. Increasing breastfeeding rates may contribute to improving maternal health by reducing breast cancer incidence, and infant health by reducing infant infections.

The research also seeks to contribute to a more inclusive society, by helping creating an accepting environment for breastfeeding and improving the mental health of mothers who are at risk of isolation or embarrassment when electing to breastfeed their babies in public. Also, supporting breastfeeding helps in building climate resilience and build a healthier planet as breastfeeding has a very low carbon footprint compared to breastmilk substitutes.

About the author:

This blog is based on PhD research (A Critical Application of Branding to Promote Acceptance of Breastfeeding in Public in the UK) by Ms Anuradha Somangurthi, under the supervision of Dr Cecile Morris (, Dr Craig Hirst ( and Dr Rachel Rundle (, at Sheffield Hallam University.

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Energy drinks, caffeine and young adults

The puzzle:

There has been considerable recent interest in the impact of energy drinks on teenagers and young adults (BBC News 2018a, 2018b, 2019), and there is a statutory requirement to provide a high caffeine warning on drinks containing more than 150 mg/L of caffeine. The overt purpose of adding caffeine to soft drinks is as a “flavouring agent” as it possesses a strong bitter taste. There is, however, evidence that caffeine at concentrations found in colas and within a complex matrix cannot be detected by a trained sensory panel wich has led some to hypothesise that caffeine was added for its mildly addictive properties rather than its taste. The impact of caffeine at higher concentrations such as those typically found in energy drinks remained unclear. Additionally, although we know that labelling and marketing information can generate strong expectations and impact on the experience of consumption and liking of a product, there was little information on whether information relating to caffeine presence influences healthiness perception and intended use in young adults.

The research:

Over 2017-18 and 2018-19, two learning sets of final undergraduate students in Food and Nutrition at Sheffield Hallam University worked under the supervision of Dr Cecile Morris to better understand the role of caffeine in model energy drinks and its impact on liking and perception. The information collected formed the basis for an article co-authored by one of the students, Jessica Elgar, in the academic journal LWT Food Science and Technology.  In brief, a consumer panel of 107 young adults (18-26 years of age) was recruited to assess one caffeinated and one caffeine-free model drink in both a blind condition (i.e. participants had no information about the presence of caffeine) and an informed condition (i.e. participants had information about whether the drink contained caffeine or not). Habitual caffeine intake was also measured.

The findings:

Energy drinks contributed only 5.2% to the participants’ overall caffeine intake, behind coffee and tea, and their consumption pattern appeared to be irregular rather than habitual. This broadly relates to what has been observed elsewhere and suggests that energy drinks may not be problematic with respect to overall caffeine intake. Caffeine in concentrations found in energy drinks could be detected by the participants. Both the presence of caffeine and information that caffeine was present in the drink had small, but significant detrimental effects on overall liking and liking of the bitterness level. This may explain why energy drinks often contain a lot of sugar as the sweetness masks off the bitter taste of caffeine. Healthiness perception also decreased when participants were informed that the drink contained caffeine.

A potentially bigger issue emerged from the findings with regard to how young adults planned to consume the model energy drinks: the most popular intended use for the caffeinated model energy drink, both in blind and informed conditions, was as a mixer with alcohol. This however is unlikely to be attributable specifically to the presence of caffeine in the drink as the most popular intended use for the caffeine-free model drink was also as a mixer with alcohol. Similarly, no significant difference was observed between intended purposes relating to the energy boosting properties of energy drinks.

These results and the enduring popularity of energy drinks suggest that there is more at play than taste, healthiness perception or their even energy boosting properties. Some have hypothesized that their acceptance may be linked to the positive feelings experienced when their consumption alleviates mild caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Unpicking this may prove practically challenging but would be particularly useful, as would exploring the views of younger teenagers.

About the author:

Dr Cecile Morris ( is Interim Head of the Department of Service Sector Management, Sheffield Business School of Sheffield Hallam University. Her research focuses on sensory science, food perceptions, consumer attitudes and behaviours, health and food science.

Cecile and Jessica’s article, ‘Impact of caffeine and information relating to caffeine on young adults’ liking, healthiness perception and intended use of model energy drinks’ appears in the October 2020 issue of the Journal LWT: Food Science Technology.

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What’s Cooking, June 2020

What’s Cooking is an update on all things related to CHEFS: the Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster at Sheffield Hallam University. What’s been cooking since our last edition?

In this June 2020 edition, we have updates on recent CHEFS activities, including:

  • research on nutrition in care homes (Lucie Nield), family business dynamics in the catering sector (Rich Telling and Philip Goulding), and agricultural shows as a value creation platform (Caroline Westwood and Phil Crowther);
  • a summary of BMRC colleagues’ work with regional brewers, from Jillian Newton;
  • a call for expressions of interest to get involved with ShefFood, from James Ellerby;
  • a series of webinars aimed at helping the region’s hospitality industry in the context of CV19, organised by James Ellerby and Hospitality colleagues;
  • a call for expressions of interest to explore future collaborative links with La Trobe University for research on socio-cultural dimensions of food and drink, from Jennifer Smith Maguire.

Plus, the usual call for content for the September 2020 edition of What’s Cooking.

Cheers, Jen


Recent CHEFS Activities

Lucie Nield is part of a group of colleagues from SHU, UoS & NHS and Social Care partners who have successfully progressed to a Round 2 submission for an NIHR Research for Social Care bid looking at the effect of good nutrition in residential care homes. The bid is a joint venture using qualitative and quantitative methodologies and process evaluation with the aim of co-designing an intervention. If successful in the next round, work will commence in January 2021 where we will be working closely with our health and social care colleagues.

Richard Telling and Philip Goulding’s article ‘Retaining the adolescent workforce in family businesses’ has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Family Business Management. The article explored the linkage between adolescent work, parent-child relationships and offspring career choice outcomes in a family business context. Findings were derived from 15 semi-structured interviews with members of five Italian families operating catering businesses in Yorkshire (UK). The findings were two-fold: first, that the ‘familiarity’ of the family business impacts on offspring decision making, on one hand providing a safety net and base from which the next generation can explore their career options, and a trapping device which can impede their exit on the other; and second, that negative experiences of adolescent work often have a detrimental impact on parent-child relationships and when this happens ‘escaping’ the family business assumes priority for offspring. The paper contributes to our understanding of the stay/go decision faced by next generation family members and suggests that parent-child relationships are instrumental in understanding this and previous stages of the socialisation process of embedding in the family business.

Phil Crowther and Caroline Westwood (along with Greg Langridge-Thomas from Powys Council) had their article ‘The Royal Welsh Show – the nations true cauldron’ accepted for publication in the Event Management journal.  Using the show as a single case study to really examine the catalytic role events have in the context of networks and knowledge economy and in this case, the impact the show has throughout Wales and beyond.  The show (as many UK agricultural shows), dates back to the early 1900’s, recognised as hugely influential on the development of rural areas, their role is high worth, contributing to significantly improving, husbandry techniques, stock quality and enabling the country to meet the needs for increased food production.  This extensive case study included 43 interviews and 1322 questions in addition to archival research.  Through this research a framework was derived entitled ‘Taxonomy of Platforms’ which demonstrates events such as the Royal Welsh Show are value creation platforms, offering a significant role in cultivating networks, across key industries (food, farming, agricultural innovations) both stakeholder and attendee focused.  Future research which Caroline is undertaking focuses on how these shows are also a stage for ‘families of choice’ to convene, share best practices, educate themselves and socialise.  This next stage of the research will consider partly the value of agricultural shows but also how individuals perceive the events in terms of space and place and the connection they have with certain events within the agricultural events calendar.

From Jillian Newton: Hello to all you fellow CHEFS from the Biomolecular Sciences Research arm, just to let you know what we’ve been up to during lockdown and the sheer madness of remote working. As many of you will know we have over the past 6 years been developing links with local microbrewers, running workshops and meetings helping to understand and develop this research area within the BMRC. Early on in 2020 in the heady days of pre-lockdown myself,  (Dr Jillian Newton), Dr Susan Campbell, Dr Daniel Allwood and Dr Tim Nichol set up a brewing research group, which included Tim’s master student  and my a final year project student. These two students have been working within the BMRC and the NCEFE looking at the beer brewing process and its effect on yeast. Since lockdown, however, we have kept ourselves productive in a written capacity. In the joyous haze of lockdown we have somehow put together:

  • A capital equipment grant for kit to complement our established pilot microbrewery plant at NCEFE, to allow SHU researchers and local brewers access to scientific data about brewing processes and the beers they produce. This would contribute extensively to our engagement with local brewers.
  • An application to the Brewers Research and Education Fund which is funded by the very aptly named ‘Worshipful Company of Brewers’ to help create a central hub for the communication of knowledge transfer, bespoke research, teaching and good practice between the craft ale community and researchers.
  • And finally, we have also applied for a GTA PhD studentship, working with Triple Point brewery, looking at one of the ‘Holy Grails’ of brewing: the scientific basis behind yeast flocculation.

All told a very productive brewing related few weeks.

James Ellerby sits on the steering group of ShefFood, a local cross-sector food partnership. James would like to hear from anyone in CHEFS who would be interested in getting involved with the partnership. A few recent ShefFood updates on the local food system include:

  • Food Works has moved their focus to meal deliveries, serving about 3500 meals to date.
  • Food Banks: the need for food has increased 20%. The increase in food prices is having a big impact (e.g. S2 Food Bank currently spends £2000/week to supplement donations).
  • City Farm Federation/Heeley City Farm: the main focus for local growers has been maximising food production, supporting the increased demand for food cooperatives such as Regather. With the loss of farm visits, school tours etc., city farms are needing to consider longer term solutions. There appears to be a need for improved digital infrastructure, e.g. online resources for virtual tours etc.
  • Regather food cooperative: a current success story in this crisis. Household subscriptions for their veg box scheme went from 320 to 650/week in just five days. They have accelerated their own farm development to supplement this and the loss of their events business.
  • Moor Market fruit and veg traders have had some great examples of pivoting businesses and moving to home delivery.
  • Sustainable Food Cities have rebranded as Sustainable Food Places. Some great case studies of other food partnerships/cities and their reaction to the crisis. See:

Please let James know ( if anyone is interested in getting involved in/supporting any of the above issues. If anyone is currently working on anything that may be of use to the partnership/local food businesses please do let him know.

James Ellerby and colleagues from the Hospitality Business Management group in Sheffield Business School have organised a webinar series, ‘Covid-19 Support Resources for Hospitality,’ delivered through the ScaleUp 360 programme. The team have developed a series of completely free online resources, available to businesses within the Sheffield City Region. The resources will be delivered as a series of online webinars and will included a blend of taught content, panel discussions and live Q&As. The initial list of topics currently includes:

  • 04/06 – Lessons from the past: restaurant recovery in a global recession
  • 11/06 – The future of service in hospitality
  • 17/06 – Hospitality revenue management for the Covid-19 recovery
  • 25/06 – Innovation: re-think, re-visit, reinvent – Developing resilient hospitality business models 02/07 – Food supply chain challenges and solutions
  • 09/07 – Food and business ethics: making the ‘right’ decisions for the future

Details of each event will be available here. For any further information about the hospitality webinars please contact James Ellerby (

Please note: in order to participate, businesses must register (free) with the ScaleUp 360 programme via an expression of interest form, and a short registration meeting via a phone call with a business growth coach at ScaleUp 360. Registered businesses are then eligible to an additional range of fully funded enterprise and entrepreneurial skills development opportunities, including Business Workshops; Mentoring; Incubation Support and Networking; Design and Prototyping; 1:1 Business Advice. ScaleUp 360 is part-financed by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, and is run in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre, Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, and East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

Jennifer Smith Maguire, in collaboration with Jennifer Frost and Warwick Frost of La Trobe University (LTU), was awarded a 2020 SHU-LTU Collaborative Research Seed Grant. The bid had three objectives: (1) to progress our collaborative research on cultural institutions and wellbeing (initiated through a 2019 LTU-SHU Collaborative Research Seed Grant); (2) to scope a cross-cultural comparative project on wine tourism and the social marketing of terroir; and (3) to develop a cross-university food/drink/culture research network, by promoting CHEFS and SBS expertise to LTU colleagues, and identifying potential areas for collaborative research. The funding was to allow Jen to travel to La Trobe for an intense week of writing, research scoping and networking in June 2020. The global pandemic has put the trip temporarily on hold, but objective 3 is nevertheless underway! To that end: this is a call for expressions of interest from SHU-based CHEFS colleagues who want to develop links with LTU colleagues, with a focus on future collaborative research on the socio-cultural dimensions of food and drink. Please submit your information through this google form. As part of the SHU-LTU global partnership, there have already been two rounds (2019, 2020) of collaborative research seed grants, and there is currently a call for joint PhD proposals. The google form is intended to help with proactively building a CHEFS/SHU-LTU research network, to enhance the likelihood of success in bidding for these (and other, external) funds, and developing productive, collegial partnerships. Please get in touch with Jen if you have any questions (


Call for content for the next edition of What’s Cooking

The next edition of What’s Cooking will be September 2020. Please send content (research updates, calls for expression of interest, relevant calls for papers/conference/event announcements) to by Thursday 27 August.


Want to stay updated? Follow us on Twitter (@SHU_CHEFS), subscribe to the blog and/or join our Jisc email list: see information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage.


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Sustainable Diets and closing the intention–behaviour gap


by Kate Platts and Cecile Morris

Diets inextricably link human health and environmental sustainability. Evidence suggests that diets that place the least burden on the planet’s natural resources are also those which have the greatest benefit for human health. Beef cattle and dairy farming globally has a demonstrable detrimental impact on the environment, and finding ways to mitigate environmental risks through modified food consumption has become a key area of study.

In this blog, we discuss the ‘Planetary Health Diet’ launched in early 2019 and introduce our on-going research in the area of consumer attitudes towards sustainable diets. We examine the controversial response from the agricultural and nutrition sectors as well as the media. We also explore UK consumer behaviour in relation to meat and dairy consumption, touching on drivers of meat consumption and barriers to dietary change but also recent market trends. Thinking about the plethora of mainstream media articles reporting on climate change and the need to act now, we ask ourselves: What support is available to those who want to adopt a ‘greener’ diet? What resources would help those struggling to make dietary changes and effectively close the intention-behaviour gap?

If you feel this is of relevance to you, read on!

What do we know so far?

The impact of food systems on the environment

The production of food for human consumption has a significant impact on the environment in which it is produced and on the planet as a whole. It is likely to be the single biggest cause of global environmental change today, with an estimated 20-30% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emanating from global food systems. However, not all agricultural food systems are created equal. The environmental impact of cattle rearing and farming are by far the biggest contributors to methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions – the most potent and damaging to the earth’s atmosphere. Efforts to increase food chain efficiency can help mitigate the problem but reducing consumption of GHG-intensive foods, while also meeting health goals, is now seen as key. In this, food consumers have a leading role to play in influencing food production and consumption practices, especially in developed countries where food is abundantly available.

Sustainable diets

The term ‘sustainable diet’ has been coined to describe diets with ‘low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations’, thus signalling an inextricable link between environmental sustainability and human health. While food system-related climate change is undoubtedly a great threat to the planet, the fact remains that 821 million people around the world are undernourished, with 770 million experiencing severe food and nutrition insecurity. Worldwide, the picture is one of gross inequalities with meat and dairy consumption disproportionately concentrated in westernised, developed countries. In this respect, sustainable diets become particularly complex when geographical, social and cultural contexts are considered, and healthy diets do not always necessarily equal environmentally sustainable ones. Finding simple solutions to these deeply complex issues is challenging. Nevertheless, attempts have been made to define global diets that are both ‘healthy’ and ‘sustainable’. The ‘Planetary Health Diet’ proposed by the EAT-Lancet Commission in 2019, attempts to synthesise and distil the research of 37 leading scientists from various disciplines, including human health, agriculture, political sciences and environmental sustainability, into simple food-based dietary guidelines for the global population. It is the first report of its kind to attempt to set universal scientific targets. It recommended a major dietary shift towards fruits, vegetables and legumes and away from meat and dairy consumption, which its authors assert will ease pressure on natural systems and avert 10-11 million deaths per year from non-communicable diseases. However, recognising the burden of hunger and undernutrition in many low- and middle-income countries, the Planetary Health Diet focuses primarily on reducing excessive meat consumption in wealthier continents such as Europe, North America and Australia.

The response to the Planetary Health Diet

The Planetary Health Diet has not been universally endorsed. The Sustainable Food Trust said the report fell short due to ‘a fundamental lack of agricultural understanding’ with some of the main dietary recommendations being ‘incompatible with the food production outcomes of truly sustainable farming systems’.  The Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board UK said that ‘farming, in particular dairy and red meat…makes best use of naturally occurring assets to feed a growing population’, and that red meat and dairy products are ‘an important nutritional part of a healthy, balanced diet.’ Nevertheless, many applauded its publication and a report by the UK Food, Farming & Countryside Commission recommended moving to a more plant-based diet, encouraging people to ‘buy healthy’ and empowering communities to shape and drive their local food systems in a sustainable way. Despite the mixed reviews that the EAT-Lancet Commission report and its proposed Planetary Health Diet have received in mainstream media, the coverage (BBC, 2019a; BBC 2019b; CNN, 2019; Guardian, 2019; New York Times, 2019) will have raised public awareness of the issue. While it seems unlikely that British consumers will adopt, en masse, a vastly meat- and dairy-reduced diet, the tide does appear to be turning towards different dietary patterns in a nation of increasingly conscientious consumers.

Consumer behaviour in the UK

The relationship between dietary choice and climate change may not be obvious, and scepticism about the link between climate change and dietary choice is widespread. Nevertheless, there appears to be a groundswell of support for reducing of meat and dairy intake amongst the British general public. According to a 2019 YouGov poll, while the vast majority of British consumers (73%) eat meat, 14% report that they are following a ‘flexitarian’ diet, which can be described as semi-vegetarian with only the occasional inclusion of meat or fish. Furthermore, 69% of flexitarians and 26% of meat-eaters who do not currently identify as flexitarians report that they’d like to cut down on the amount of meat they eat. Some research suggests that environmental concerns are generally ranked lowest behind animal welfare and health amongst people considering the benefits of a plant-based diet. However, around 83% of UK adults claim to have recently bought food or drinks with ethical certifications, with 38% citing environmental concerns as the primary reason for doing so.

Retail data too show that consumer purchasing habits in the UK are changing, and that meat and dairy substitutes are increasingly popular amongst both vegetarians and active meat-reducers, perceived as both healthy and easy to prepare by adopters. This is something that Quorn, the market-leader in the meat-substitute market, has capitalised on with a new ‘healthy protein, healthy planet’ campaign in 2019, targeting consumers who care about both the health and sustainability agendas. Provision of dairy-reduction information and campaign messages in the UK come predominantly from not-for-profit groups such as Veganuary and the Vegan Society. Campaigns such as ‘Plate up for the Planet – eat to save the world’ position themselves as campaigns for sustainable diets with a strong focus on environmental issues and animal welfare. However, we lack research on how peoples’ intentions and actual behaviours are influenced as a result.

Barriers to closing the intention-behaviour gap for dietary change

There appears to be growing acceptability and accessibility for meat- and dairy-reduced products. Yet, significant barriers exist, even for those motivated to move towards a more sustainable diet. Closing the intention-behaviour gap for dietary change—which is central to individual and planetary health—requires a better understanding of the socio-cultural contexts of individuals’ dietary behaviours. Meat attachment is deeply entrenched in western societies, driven by the historical, social and cultural importance of eating meat. Far from being a result of purely rational decision-making, human behaviour is the result of an intricate interplay between habits, automatic responses to the environment, conscious choice and calculation, and the influence of complex social and cultural values. Thus, an individual may fully intend to reduce meat and dairy consumption yet find themselves unable or unwilling in practice to make the necessary changes.

As such, closing the intention-behaviour gap doesn’t just require a better understanding of intentions and behaviours; it requires better forms of support to enable people to enact dietary changes that support sustainability. Unlike with other positive behaviour changes, there is currently no easily accessible support mechanism for people wishing to reduce meat and dairy intake. This is where our research comes in. We are currently working to identify factors that can influence the reduction of meat and dairy intake, and the mechanisms that would best support individuals and empower them to effect sustainable dietary changes. 

How you can help

We are carrying out research on sustainable diets, and you can get involved. We have developed a baseline survey to try and model attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable diets based on elements of the Theory of Planned Behaviour as well as the Self-Determination Theory. Beyond this, we are also piloting small scale interventions aiming to support behaviour change in people who wish to reduce their meat and dairy intake. The data acquisition part of this project will be live until August 2020. You can get involved by filling in our survey or contacting the principal investigator: Dr Cecile Morris ( 

About the authors:

This blog is based on MSc research (‘Sustainable Diets: Closing the Intention—Behaviour Gap’) by Ms Kate Platts (, under the supervision of Dr Cecile Morris ( in the Department of Service Sector Management, Sheffield Business School of Sheffield Hallam University.

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