The development of food items to benefit cognition and mood

The development of food items to benefit cognition and mood

Psychology researchers are leading the way in the development of food items, or in making dietary recommendations that improve either mood or cognition.

The objective of Professor David Benton’s research is to either aid in the development food items, or make dietary recommendations, that improve either mood or cognition. 

In recent years the research has been widely quoted to support public policy; for example:

  • The European Food Information Council supported the view stating that  “Breakfast breaks the overnight fast and provides energy to kick-start the body and sharpen the mind”. 
  • The US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, when they recommended a School Breakfast Program, quoted Swansea research in supporting the view that “Children who eat breakfast are more likely to behave better in school and get along with their peers than those who do not”.  
  • The impact of the Swansea research was acknowledged by the Education Committee of the House of Commons when they considered Behaviour and Discipline in Schools.  It was noted that there is good evidence that eating breakfast is beneficial to the performance and behaviour of school children, a view “reinforced by … Professor David Benton … who had conducted research which found that eating breakfast improved the cognitive performance of some children…”

As one example of Swansea research, it was reported for the first time that food that slowly releases glucose into the blood stream improves mood and memory in the late morning.  This phenomenon played a role in the development of the BelVita breakfast biscuit, that been said to have “revolutionised the biscuit category” by establishing a new sector of the market. 

It is clear from the advertising that quotes Swansea research, that the work has influenced the positioning and advertising of the product.  In 2014 BelVita was reported to be worth half a billion dollars.  The Grocer (September 2013), reported that “Sales of breakfast biscuits show no signs of slowing.  The category has risen 78.9% to £76m (in UK) year-on-year following an 88% increase the year before.  The market continues to be dominated by Belvita …. worth £57m (in UK) after less than four years”.