The overall aim of IMDEA Food is to undertake world class research into food, nutrition and health, and to identify nutritional strategies of economic and social value. Its founding mandate is to translate health and nutrition research into benefits for the economy of the Madrid Region and wider Spain, and into the wellbeing of the country's inhabitants.
Given the high rate of morbidity associated with chronic diseases - the onset and progress of which may be nutrition-associated - and faced with a food industry in Spain that shows strong international competition, Spanish society needs food R&D results.
Nutrition can be an effective tool in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease as different nutrients and food products have been shown to play vital roles in the body's molecular mechanisms. Knowledge of these processes, and the possibility of controlling them via what we eat, has opened up the field of personalised nutrition.
This seeks to invest dietary strategies aimed at improving health with the greatest effectiveness. This, however, can only be achieved when the genetic profile of individual persons, and the context in which they live (together dictating their physiological status), are taken into account. With this knowledge, precision, individualised nutritional interventions can be prescribed, a concept that in the coming years will form part of our everyday lives.
The Institute's activities are orientated towards studying the molecular mechanisms of the human body, the physiological effects of chronic disease, and how these are related to the nutrients we consume. Nutritional strategies need to be designed and validated with precision nutrition in mind, and must therefore focus on individuals and their particular characteristics, i.e., their genetic profile and particular physiological status.
IMDEA Food organises its activities around three strategic axes:
- Axis 1. Science: Advancing scientific knowledge in the area of food and health, with a special focus on the prevention of chronic diseases.
- Axis 2. Business: Contributing towards the economic development and competitiveness of the food industry via the design and validation of nutritional strategies and food products of proven effectiveness in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.
- Axis 3. Society: Contributing towards the reduction of healthcare costs and improving the wellbeing of the population through the study of the relationship between diet and health, the execution of communication programmes, and via the dissemination of nutrition advice.
IMDEA Food has 5 R&D programmes and 3 Platforms: