What does ‘co-production’ look like for Food System transformation?

Mapping and curating the evidence across TUKFS projects

As part of the Transforming UK Food Systems (TUKFS) SPF Programme Annual Synergy Fund, this research project aims to map and curate examples of ‘good practice’ across the TUKFS projects where ‘co’ design/creation/production methods are being employed for food system transformation. 

‘Co-production’ is a way of working together in equal partnership for equal benefits – it is a term that is increasingly used in research and practice because it is thought to empower communities and other stakeholders more fairly in research processes. Within food systems research, it is becoming popular as an approach in diverse contexts. But it remains a contested term, because its processes are seen to be ‘messy’ and complex. 

Led by Prof Charlotte Hardman (FIO-FOOD; BeanMeals) and Dr Clare Pettinger (FoodSEqual), the research team is currently undertaking a mapping exercise, gathering data and insights about co-production approaches through conversations with the key people involved.

The project uses exploratory, creative methods, with plans for a novel ‘co-production oracle’ workshop in November 2023. In this workshop, key researchers and stakeholders will come together to collaboratively reflect on the findings from the mapping exercise. Workshop discussions will be written up into a co-authored published paper exploring the role of co-production in food system transformation, as well as sharing any practical options or working principles identified, leading to improved joined-up understanding of ‘co-production’ and its application and potential impact across UKRI projects and beyond.

Take a look at this video to find out more:

Naomi Shaw, the Research Assistant on the project, said:

Through our initial conversations with TUKFS project teams, we have already identified a diverse range of co-production approaches, with researchers engaging with a variety of actors across different food system settings (including farmers, school children, and people with lived experience of obesity and food insecurity). In the next few months, we aim to capture further ‘good practice’ examples of these inclusive approaches to include in a publicly available online toolkit. We hope the findings from this project will enable a shared understanding of the different forms of co-production and their application within food system transformation.

If you would like to know more about the project and the work the team are doing, please get in touch with Professor Charlotte Hardman ( and Dr Clare Pettinger (

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