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Towards effective healthier Digital Food Environments: Exploring the roles of consumers, practitioners and industry.


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Project start date
Monday 25 September 2023
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Dr Sally Moore
Additional supervisors
School of Food Science and Nutrition
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Digital food environments, including supermarket websites, have some features intended to help consumers make healthier food choices (i.e. product nutrition labels, promotions, filter/sort tools). This project will explore these features and the extent to which they can be expected to support people make healthier food choices.<br />

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Digital food environments, including supermarket websites, are policy targets for change to support population health&nbsp; (1). Aspects of these food environments which may support healthier diets include the provision of front-of-pack nutrition labelling (i.e. traffic lights) (2), and nutrition-related product information management tools (i.e. &quot;filters&quot;) (3). In addition, new UK Regulations now restrict promotions on less-healthy &ldquo;high fat sugar salt&rdquo; products (HFSS) online (4). &nbsp;This project will explore these features to ask the following questions; (i) To what extent can these features be expected to impact on consumers&rsquo; actual digital food choices? And (ii) What are the roles for the industry and health practitioners in supporting consumers?&nbsp;</p> <p>This PhD project will produce outputs to address the questions above, with anticipated impact via influence on UK nutrition policy, consumers, and nutrition professional organisations.&nbsp;</p> <p>Research into food environments which is intended to help people to find, choose and eat a healthier and more sustainable diet is more important than ever. The UK now faces unprecedented levels of obesity and a cost of living crisis. &nbsp;Many people are consuming excessive levels of salt, saturated fat and sugars (5).</p> <p>References cited above<br /> 1. World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe (2021) Digital Food Environments.&nbsp;<br /> 2. Moore S. G., and Benn Y. 2022 Chapter 13 Nutrition labelling information products and menus. In T<em>ransforming food environments</em> (Evans, C Ed.). CRC Press<br /> 3. Body K., and Moore S.G., (2022). Availability and Accuracy of Nutritionally Relevant Interactive Information Management Tools (IIMTs) in UK Supermarket Websites. I<em>UNS &nbsp;Conference Japan</em>.<br /> 4. Wallis L., and Moore S.G. (2022). Prevalence and labelling characteristics of high fat sugar salt (HFSS) products in multibuy and entrance promotions in three UK supermarkets. <em>Proceedings of the Nutrition Society </em>81 (OCE5), E221.&nbsp;<br /> 5. Department of Health and Social Care, UK Government (2020). Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives. Available from:<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>Who would be interested in becoming a PhD researcher on this project?</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="background:#f8f8f8">The project would suit experienced nutrition, food, or health professionals, including those with experience in the food industry in areas such as public health, food law, regulation, dietetics, nutrition.</span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="background:#f8f8f8">The PhD researcher will be trained in, and experience using, a variety of methodologies to undertake and manage the research work streams involved.</span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="background:#f8f8f8">Skills sets desired in PhD researcher, at the start of the PhD project, include a working knowledge/awareness of either qualitative or quantitative research methods, and literature searching, preferably to MSc level. Candidates must have demonstrable ability to write academically and verbally communicate ideas and questions during presentations, iscussions etc. </span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="background:#f8f8f8">Possession of existing research skills, at Undergraduate or Post Graduate degree level, which may include systematic literature review, statistical analysis and experience with associated software is expected.</span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="background:#f8f8f8">Candidates should be able to demonstrate excellent organisation and initiative /problem solving skills.</span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="background:#f8f8f8"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Calibri&quot;,sans-serif">The project will provide training in the relevant research methods and opportunities to professional network and disseminate project findings as conferences etc. </span></span></span></span></p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is this project (<strong>use the title given above</strong>) as well as&nbsp;<strong>Dr Sally Moore </strong>as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><em><span style="color:#4a4a4a">For UK applicants there are some funding possibilities (deadlines associated with each funding source are indicated in the links below):</span></em></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><em>&nbsp;<span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><em><span style="color:#4a4a4a">The Leeds Doctoral Scholarship scheme applications:</span></em> <em><span style="color:#4a4a4a"><a href=",Medicine%20and%20Health%3B%20Social%20Sciences" style="color:#0563c1; text-decoration:underline">,Medicine%20and%20Health%3B%20Social%20Sciences</a>.</span></em></span></span></span></em></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px; margin-left:8px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><em><span style="color:#4a4a4a">The Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarships applications: &nbsp;</span></em><span class="MsoHyperlink" style="color:#0563c1"><span style="text-decoration:underline"><em>Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</em></span></span><em><span style="color:#4a4a4a">.</span></em></span></span></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Calibri&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:#4a4a4a">For Leeds University Alumni:&nbsp; </span></span></span></span></em><span class="MsoHyperlink" style="color:#0563c1"><span style="text-decoration:underline"><em><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Calibri&quot;,sans-serif">Alumni Bursary</span></span></span></em></span></span><em><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Calibri&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:#4a4a4a"> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds</span></span></span></span></em></p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the Faculty of Environment PGR Admissions team:</p> <p>and</p> <p><a href="">Dr Sally Moore</a><br /> e:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>