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Delivering dietary diversity using natural variation in crops

A Seminar Session held at Food Matters Live, Wednesday, 18th November 2015, London ExCel

The UK Vegetable Genebank was delighted to host a fascinating session on the importance of crop diversity to everyone in the food supply chain, from producers to consumers.

Diversity, both within and between crops, has an often unrecognized role in healthy and nutritious diets. The UK Vegetable Genebank holds a globally significant seed collection representing variation in vegetable crops such as brassicas, onions, lettuce and carrot, and the collection is used to develop new and better vegetable varieties - not only to cope with climate change and associated impacts but to provide enhanced flavour, texture and nutritional value. The aim of this session was to celebrate diversity in crops in a broad sense and highlight where new products have been developed based on existing variability in crops. Speakers came from organisations as diverse as Waitrose, PepsiCo, the Institute of Food Research and Produce World and offered a range of perspectives on crop diversity. The range of variation in different crops and the positive impacts such diversity has on consumer choice and health was highlighed in the talks and the interactive tasting session of different fruits and vegetables.

The seminar programme is below, including links to the slides from each talk (where available).


Title of Talk

Dr Ian Puddephat

Senior Director Agro Discovery & Sustainability, PepsiCo

Introduction by Chair – Challenges of matching agro-derived products with consumer preferences

Dr Charlotte Allender

Director, UK Vegetable Genebank, University of Warwick
The UK Vegetable Genebank: a resource for
innovation in fresh produce(PDF Document)


Dr Maria Traka

Senior Scientist, Institute of Food Research
Exploiting natural diversity – the development
of Beneforte broccoli
(PDF Document)

Professor Paul Thornalley

Professor in Systems Biology, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick

Health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption

 Demonstration of diversity in vegetable: colour and taste led by David Northcroft (Waitrose)

Mr Guy Thallon

Head of Research, Development and Innovation, Produce World Group
Diversity and fresh produce – a producer’s
(PDF Document)

Mr David Northcroft

Category Varietal Development Manager, Waitrose
Trends in fresh produce – meeting the needs of
the sophisticated consumer
(PDF Document)

Mr Melville Miles

Head of CSR and Agronomy, Freshtime
Summary of session and perspective on future
developments on crop diversity
(PDF Document)

Dietary Diversity Seminar Programme(PDF Document)

Audience at FML
Tasting diversity