Spoke 04

Food quality and nutrition

To push towards sustainable and tailored food and nutrition

Spoke leaderPatrizia Riso
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Blog postJun 21, 2024

On 25th June, Spoke 4 meets at the University of Milan

Blog postMay 15, 2024

Open Day of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Milan, at the Sustainable Development Festival

Blog postDec 13, 2023

Multistakeholder Governance Strategies to reduce Food Waste: A Day of Meetings at the University of Milan.

Blog postDec 4, 2023

University of Milan launches a funding call for innovative research partnerships on Food Quality and Nutrition

Blog postJul 13, 2023

The University of Milan will host the meeting event of Spoke 04 "Food Quality and Nutrition"

The research projects under Spoke 04 aim to improve the quality of food and nutrition to meet the needs and expectations of modern consumers. This includes reformulating food, using innovative and sustainable technologies, and designing new foods while considering emerging interindividual features that drive personalised nutrition. 

The focus is on promoting consumer health through improved food, diet, and nutrition, while also taking into account the large inter-individual variability of response to the diet and promoting careful personalisation of consumption.

OnFoods targets

To promote the sustainability of food production
To promote the sustainability of food distribution
To increase the quality of foods and diets
To develop smart innovative technologies for a sustainable food production and consumption

SDG’s targeted


Flagship research projects

Research projectEFFORT

Reformulation of food products

Managed by

Principal investigators

Patrizia Riso,Daniela Martini

Referred to

Spoke 04
Research projectDE LEGUMINIBUS

Discovering the effects of pulses through the gut microbiome and bioavailability of bioactive compounds

Managed by

Principal investigators

Paola Vitaglione,Danilo Ercolini,Luisa Cigliano

Referred to

Spoke 04
Research projectOBI-WAN-DIET

A multi-omics approach to tackle obesity at individual level with plant-based diets

Managed by

Principal investigators

Pedro Mena,Daniele Del Rio

Referred to

Spoke 04
About Spoke 04

To push towards sustainable and tailored food and nutrition

The environment we live in is increasingly ‘obesogenic’, characterised by the spread of low-quality, high-calorie-density foods and widespread sedentary behaviour. 

According to the WHO European Regional Obesity Report 2022, overweight and obesity are identified as the fourth most common risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in Europe. Additionally, we are witnessing a global trend towards the westernisation of diets, with high amounts of proteins, saturated fats, refined grains, sugars, alcohol, salt, high-fructose corn syrup, and reduced intake of fruits and vegetables.

The convergence towards a "Global Standard Diet" has been one of the most rapid cultural changes in human history. This phenomenon began in rich countries in the 1960s and has quickly spread worldwide, overcoming differences in place and culture. Despite the wide range of foods available, global diets have become increasingly uniform, with a global diversity reduction . Such dietary uniformity has certainly not contributed to lowering malnutrition levels: around the world, there are currently 149.2 million children under the age of 5 who suffer from stunted growth, while 45.4 million of them are affected by acute malnutrition and 38.9 million are overweight. At the same time, over 40% of men and women worldwide, corresponding to about 2.2 billion people, are considered overweight or obese.

W.P 4.1

Product and process innovation

Work package 4.1 is dedicated to product and process innovation in the food industry. The aim is to reformulate and improve relevant food products nationally by implementing optimal nutritional characteristics, reducing antinutrients, and utilising bioprocessed ingredients. The objective is to ensure the safety and accessibility of new food products by improving the formulation and composition of foods based on consumer needs and perceptions.

W.P 4.2

Product characterisation by advanced analytical approaches

One of the key objectives of work package 4.2 is developing and applying  advanced analytical procedures to assess the quality of nationally relevant food products. These procedures will help determine the composition of food products, including their nutritional content and the presence of any contaminants. The results obtained will be crucial in determining the overall quality of the products and will be used to improve their formulation and composition in line with the overall goals of the OnFoods project.

W.P 4.3

Healthy, sustainable and personalised precision nutrition

The goal of Work Package 4.3 is to deepen our understanding of healthy, sustainable, and personalised nutrition tailored to the unique needs of each individual. The research will focus on the development and validation of personalised and precision nutrition models based on a range of factors such as anthropometric, demographic, nutritional status, lifestyle habits, perceptual and psychosocial characteristics, metabolic response, and genetic and metagenetic features. The aim is to develop predictive tools that can be used to identify specific phenotypes and determine the most appropriate intervention strategies.

W.P 4.4

Innovation in food design and scaling-up

In the context of the OnFoods project, Work Package 4.4 aims to bring innovation to the food industry by promoting sustainable and healthy food products that meet consumers' needs in terms of nutrition and enjoyment.

One of the key objectives of this work package is to develop new pilot food products that are both nutritious and delicious, using the results of previous research carried out within the OnFoods project (Work Packages 4.1 and 4.2). The focus is on food design that considers  the nutritional and functional requirements of consumers, as well as their sensory and convenience preferences.