Strategic themes and innovation challenges

Based on a multidisciplinary systems-approach, TIFN has organised its activities into three closely-linked strategic themes, which are also prevalent in national and international agendas for research and policy in the food and nutrition arena.

The first one is Consumer Engagement because change always begins with the consumer, since no consumer means no market. Within this theme, strategies are developed that will help to gear the private and public sectors alike to provide opportunities to consumers to make better choices in the areas of health and sustainability.

The second theme is Healthy Nutrition. TiFN’s role, history and success in revealing new knowledge is clear. In the new setting, the focus shifts from specific food impacts towards holistic impacts – nutrient balance – and personalized nutrition. Only by simultaneously addressing all the relevant factors can you find solutions to complex problems like obesity.

The third theme is the development of Sustainable Food Systems. Again, we have already made an important contribution to the development of knowledge and solutions. Until now, the focus has been mainly downstream, viz. food waste and packaging topics. We are expanding the scope of our work in this area and include both primary and food processing.

Eight innovation challenges have been defined within the three overarching themes. As a collaboration platform we contribute to addressing these challenges with a focus on providing non-competitive tools and insights at four specific levels: supporting consumer choices and behaviour, proofs of concept, predictive models, and measurement and enabling technologies. Ideally, each of the eight innovation challenges will develop into a research programme comprising various projects.


These programmes will put renewed focus on creating business opportunities and tackling societal issues, and will enable increased flexibility in attracting new partners – including SMEs – for individual projects. At the same time, around every innovation challenge, our role is to connect scientists from different disciplines and research organisations to create scientific communities that remain involved beyond ongoing projects. We are committed to maintain – objectively-assessed as outstanding – levels of performance, building on earlier TiFN acquired skills, and collaborating with talented scientists and committed industrial partners.