First center of excellence for nutrition opened



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Competence center for nutrition started

The first competence center for nutrition (KErn) in Germany was opened in Bavaria. As the Bavarian Minister of State for Food, Agriculture and Forestry, Helmut Brunner, explained at the opening ceremony of the Competence Center for Nutrition, the KE, which is divided into two locations (Kulmbach and Freising-Weihenstephan), is intended to support healthy nutrition in the Free State.

In the center of excellence, various research institutions will in future work closely with the food industry to enable systematic knowledge transfer, also in the direction of consumers. The Bavarian Minister of Food Brunner emphasized that the project, which is unique in Germany, should bundle competencies and improve the "flow of information between business, science and consumers", also in order to "develop tailor-made nutritional concepts for a wide range of target groups". Because the requirements for nutrition in toddlers are fundamentally different compared to adults.

Three focus areas of the Competence Center for Nutrition The Competence Center for Nutrition also has the task of bundling already existing, nutrition-specific knowledge in a practical way for consumers. "The center of excellence should make a contribution to raising awareness of healthy eating and lifestyle and improving appreciation for food," explained Brunner at the opening ceremony. Henceforth, the competence center will act as a central contact for service providers and consumers in all nutritional questions. The new facility is divided into the areas of "Nutritional Science", "Nutritional Information / Knowledge Transfer" and "Food Industry / Production". The focus of nutritional science is devoted to the analysis of national and international "nutritional and food research with regard to relevant projects and results." Funding is also to be raised in this area and new research projects are to be initiated together with project partners. A close cooperation with universities and public and private research institutions is also planned here, explained Minister of Food Brunner.

In the "Nutrition Information / Knowledge Transfer" focus, the Competence Center for Nutrition is to bundle the scientific results for business, service providers and consumers, and to develop and offer specific educational offers for target groups. On the basis of practice-oriented workshops, conferences and meetings, the KErn should initiate "a successful knowledge dialogue". The persons responsible also plan the use of "dialogue-capable software for specific target groups" as well as implementation concepts "that do justice to the different age groups and life situations" (for example, young parents / families, seniors, day care catering).

The focus "food industry / production", however, aims to support "producers, manufacturers, processors, service providers, restaurants and food retailers" in recognizing new developments, "general conditions and trends in society and the living conditions of consumers". This will make it easier for providers to take these aspects into account when developing offers. The focus of the KErn is on establishing and expanding platforms in the areas of "innovation management" and "regional value chains", according to the initiators, regarding the goals of the new competence center. The establishment of existing "regional value chains" is also essential at this point. In addition, the KErn is also devoting itself to the development of target group-specific offers in these segments in order to initiate a sustainable communication structure between business, science and consumers.

With its commitment, the Competence Center for Nutrition claims to be aimed at all associated partners in nutrition, from state institutions such as the offices for nutrition and agriculture to institutions for nutritional education and general education to health and social institutions. In addition, doctors and midwives, nutritionists, the food industry and "not least specialist journalists and the media" should also be reached. The KErn initially employs 18 people at the Kulmbach and Freising-Weihenstephan locations, with the number of employees expected to increase to 40 by 2015. (fp)

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