University of Surrey, UK
Monique Raats is director of the University of Surrey (UK), Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health (FCBH) Research Centre. She completed an MSc in Human Nutrition at Wageningen University (The Netherlands) in 1988 and a PhD at the University of Reading (UK) in 1992. She previously worked at the Institute of Food Research, Health Education Authority and University of Oxford. Her expertise is in the area of public health and behavioural nutrition research, gained on a variety of projects. Her research is wide ranging both in terms of topics covered (e.g. food choice, policy development, research infrastructures/ethics of data sharing, food safety) and methodologies used (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, stakeholder consultation). FCBH also works on projects to develop to connect data and researchers across disciplines and cultures, in the context of food and health science. Together with Department of Nutritional Sciences, the centre was awarded the prestigious 2017/2018 Queen’s Anniversary Prize. To date she has published over 135 refereed papers, numerous non-refereed publications including 20 book chapters and has edited two books ("The Psychology of Food Choice" (2006) and "Food for the Ag(e)ing Population" (1st edition 2009; 2nd edition 2016). From 2011 until June 2018 she was a member of UK's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and also a member of the Subgroup on Maternal and Child Nutrition (SMCN) from 2012 until June 2018. She is one of the founding members, member of the Board of Directors (2001-2006) and was secretary (2004-2006) of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The society now plays an important role in fostering excellence in research in this field through its annual meetings and journal called the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
The World Health Organization’s 2015 report reviewing the evidence of the role of sugar in diet concluded with a call for the national governments to reduce the population free sugars intake to less than 10% of the total energy intake and to implement a range of policies such as fiscal policies targeting foods and beverages high in free sugars and engaging in dialogue with food manufacturers to reduce free sugars in processed foods. There are currently mixed views across public authorities as to the extent to which sweeteners are regarded as a significant element of the portfolio of policies. Responsible Research and Innovation aims to facilitate ethically acceptable and sustainable innovation. Responsible food innovation needs to enable that the consumption of foods are not nutrient-poor, energy dense, of insufficient sensory quality and part of an unsustainable food system. Responsible innovations can be both the foods themselves as well as the broader system they are part of. From a consumption perspective, responsible food innovation thus needs to draw on a robust understanding of food practices. Based on an understanding of three distinctive models of human decision-making (rational choice model; predictable irrationality model; and social learning models; see Timotijevic, 2019), this presentation will reflect on the reasons as to why sweeteners might be considered a possible solution for addressing the need to reduce free sugars consumption.