A new generation of “healthy foods” will obviously benefit food companies which are helping fund their research, experts said yesterday.
But the benefits to consumers could be contested, said experts from the department of public health and policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Writing in the medical journal The Lancet, they said firms including Cadbury, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle have pledged £1m to fund studies from the Diet and Health Research Industry Club.
A further £9m was coming from research councils, including the Medical Research Council.
The research will look at designing foods with enhanced nutritional properties and health benefits of bioactive ingredients.
Experts said independence was important and evidence showed “commercial funding of research increases the likelihood of outcomes biased in favour of the funders”.
“The benefits to the food industry are clear, while those to consumers could be contested,” they said.