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Guiding Principles for translating evidence on diet shift for people in the real world

Appendix D: Diet Change Actors to Consider When Identifying Evidence User Targets

The literature on food systems identifies a range of activities and stakeholders, with no agreed or universal list.

The literature on food systems identifies a range of activities and stakeholders, with no agreed or universal list(footnote).  More specifically to diet shift, literature defining food environments (where diet choices take place), details a range of relevant settings and influential actors, again with no agreed list. Herforth and Ahmed’s (2015) framework on nutrition and physical activity decisions defines the environmental settings as consisting of: homes; schools; workplaces; recreational facilities; food service and retail establishments and other community settings; and sectors of influence being: government; public health and healthcare systems; agriculture; marketing and media; community design and safety; foundations and funders; and industry (food, beverage, physical activity and entertainment). Other frameworks are more granular, listing settings including: food banks; markets (farmers; street); meal kit deliverers; cafeterias; vending machines and concession stands; checkout stands at non-food retailers; and specifying actors including store managers, owners, suppliers, distributors, wholesalers, and sales representatives(footnote).

Based on this literature, and drawing on the authors’ own knowledge of food systems, Table 1 presents a list of food actor groups relevant to diet shift. Following the scope of this project specified by its commissioners, Table 1 does not include:

  • the home as a sub-domain of the food environment, as evidence use by the public/citizens is outside of the scope of the ‘Optimising evidence for diet shift’ project.
  • activities and actors in the food system prior to retail/catering (including agriculture, trade, distribution, processing and manufacturing)

Table 4: Diet Change Actors to consider when identifying evidence user targets

Diet Change Actor Group Sub-group Actors
Policymakers (Public Policy) National

Policymakers (Elected Officials; Civil Servants) working on:

  • Health/Safety/Standards
  • Environment
  • Trade
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Industry
  • Welfare
Policymakers (Public Policy) Local (Local Government Departments, Service Commissioners, Local Food Partnerships formally linked into local government

Policymakers (Elected Officials; Civil Servants) working on:

  • Public Health
  • Environment
  • Planning
  • Business/Economic
  • Education
  • Welfare
Professional Practitioners (Public Sector) Health Professionals 
  • GPs
  • Nutritionists/Dieticians
  • Early years including, health visitors
  • Professional Bodies
  • British Medical Association
  • British Dietetics Association (One Blue Dot)
  • Institute of Health Visiting
  • Royal Society Public Health
Professional Practitioners (Public Sector) Public Sector Food Procurement (schools, hospitals, prisons, public0sector owned recreational facilities, government estate), Professionals
  • Procurement managers
  • Catering staff

Professional bodies:

  • Food for Life (for example, may conduct audits)
Professional Practitioners (Public Sector) Education on diet - Practitioners (early years care including Nurseries Children's Centres)
  • Teachers
  • Nursery staff

Professional Bodies:

  • Nursery equivalent
Professional Practitioners (Public Sector) Third Sector (Food Charities Community Groups, Local Food Partnership)
  • Charity/community project/Local Food Partnership managers
  • Charity/community delivery staff (including volunteers)
  • Food banks
  • Community provision/cooking schemes
Commercial Practitioners (Private Sector Food Businesses) -
  • Retailers (Including chain stores; independent stores; online retail; markets (incl. street markets and farmers markets); short supply chain initiatives incl. box schemes; community supported agriculture schemes); vending and concessions; checkouts at non-food retailers)
  • Caterers (incl. contract caterers; restaurants; cafes; meal delivery companies)
  • Restaurants
  • Marketing and Media companies (incl. media organisations; advertising companies; sponsors (incl. of media; sports activities). 

Food Industry Bodies (Selected Examples)

Read more:


Shifting toward healthy and sustainable diets: How to optimise evidence use for policy and practice technical report

Promoting healthy and sustainable diets: How to effectively generate and translate evidence landing page