The Stakeholder Advisory Board (SHAB) is a communication platform of relevant political bodies and other stakeholders, established by the JPI HDHL to give advice and to ensure an adequate exchange of information in the field of food, nutrition & health, in particular in the three pillars identified in the strategic research agenda.

To know more about JPI HDHL SHAB, a series of interviews with representatives of different member organisations has been carried out.

EUFIC is the European Food Information Council, a non-profit organisation to communicate science-based information on nutrition and health, food safety and quality. EUFIC is a member of the SHAB for pillar 2: Diet & Food production.

Raymond Gemen, Senior Nutrition & Health Manager at EUFIC, has given an insight into the interest of EUFIC in the JPI HDHL, potential area of collaboration and personal interest in participating in the activities of SHAB.

EUFIC believes in the power of an informed consumer and a world where people choose to live healthily because they know how to. Working towards this vision, it offers accessible, appealing and actionable science-based information on food and health to inspire and empower people to make better decisions about diet and lifestyle. Science communication is evolving rapidly, with the increasing prominence of social media and the amount of information we consume. The exciting challenge is to communicate clear messages with fewer words, that are more visually attractive, and science-based at the same time.

Working in the area of food and health science communication means that EUFIC needs to be up to date about a broad range of topics, and ideally be ‘ahead of the game’. To that end, the JPI HDHL SHAB offers a well-appreciated opportunity to be a close observer of a great number of research projects in various relevant areas. Also, involvement in the JPI means great networking opportunities, both for potential (future) collaboration, as well as for increasing the outreach of EUFIC’s communication efforts.

Finally, EUFIC believes that its communication tools and channels can be similarly relevant to the JPI HDHL when it comes to supporting their messages to reach a greater audience. Thus, in case there is a need from JPI HDHL’s side, then a potential area for mutually beneficial collaboration could be communication to increase the outreach and impact of the work the JPI is doing.

Looking at its position at EUFIC which entails involvement in various projects that have a link with science and communication, Raymond is leading EUFIC’s activities in EU-funded projects PROTEIN2FOOD and the recently started FIT4FOOD2030. In the latter, with the JPI HDHL as a partner as well, Raymond is the Work Package leader for Communication and Dissemination.

Involvement in the SHAB for Raymond means the opportunity to interact and learn from professionals from different disciplines and contribute with insights from science communication. From the meetings he attended so far, he feels that the members complement each other’s expertise, which, hopefully, brings in meaningful feedback to the programme.

A “healthy diet” for Raymond is one of the critical ingredients for a “healthy life”, as well as being physically active. In addition, health goes beyond our physical health, and includes mental health and overall life satisfaction, which, one may argue, have all links to what we eat as well. In Raymond’s opinion, a supportive environment that facilitates a healthy diet, sufficient and safe physical activity, and social interactions, is key.