Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are part of the 15-strong group

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are part of the 15-strong group

The UK units of 15 food and drinks companies - including PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Co - are to fund government-backed diet research in the country.

Six research projects will receive GBP4m (US$6.8m) to study health issues such as nutritional effects on osteoarthritis and how fibre can lower cholesterol. The UK government's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council will contribute 90% of the funding, with the 15 firms supplying the rest.

A spokesperson for the BBSRC told just-drinks today (24 June) that the research findings will be publicly accessible and published in peer-review journals.

The food and drinks companies, which have formed the Diet and Health Research Industry Club to fund the projects, will meet with the research councils every nine months to discuss progress.

Celia Caulcott, BBSRC executive director for innovation and skills, said the research has the “potential to meet the needs of UK consumers and deliver real health, economic and social benefits”.

Last week, Coca-Cola unveiled plans to roll out its stevia-sweetened Coca-Cola Life in the UK following trials in Argentina and Chile last year.