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Funder: National Institute for Health Research
Project dates: Apr 2017 – Mar 2022

The University of Oxford’s Medical Science Division and local NHS partners received funding from the NIHR to extend their Biomedical Research Centre. One theme of the BRC3 funding is ‘Obesity, Diet and Lifestyle’, led by Professor Susan Jebb of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. This will support our work establishing research platforms for:

  • monitoring the food supply in the UK
  • remotely measuring food purchasing behaviour
  • delivering dietary interventions at the point-of-purchase within online supermarkets.

foodDB is a time-stamped, weekly updated database of all foods and drinks available for purchases in six UK online supermarkets (Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Ocado, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s,Iceland,TescoIreland). Data are collected on nutritional quality, ingredients, price, recommended serving size and whether or not the product is on offer. Data has been collected weekly since November 2017.

We have developed two research tools which generate data on the nutritional quality of food in the UK and the behaviour of online supermarket shoppers. These tools support other projects within the Centre (the Evaluation of the UK Sugar Drink Industry Levy and Development of Digital Apps for Self-Monitoring Food Purchases).

foodDB diagram

We are currently using foodDB to:

  • Evaluate the impact of the UK's sugar drinks tax
  • Monitor the prevalence of traffic light labels on food and drink in the UK
  • Analyse the type and frequency of promotions on food and drink in the UK. 

The platform is built with Python and MySQL.Topics: Web scraping, UK supermarkets, nutrition data, nutrient composition database, BrandView, Euromonitor, Nielsen, Kantar.



Our team

  • Peter Scarborough
    Peter Scarborough

    Associate Professor and University Research Lecturer

  • Mike Rayner
    Mike Rayner

    Professor of Population Health and Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention (CC PNP)

  • Richard Harrington
    Richard Harrington

    Senior Research Data Scientist

Related research themes