School of Biosciences

Channel 4 visits the Food Processing Hall

Food Prices 16x9

Channel 4 modified starch

Associate Professor of Food Physics Gleb Yakubov was filmed with Harry Wallop in our Food Processing Hall on campus, demonstrating how modified starches work in food.

'Skimpflation’ saves manufacturers money as they remove or decrease expensive ingredients, either to save on money or manufacturing time. 

Our food is changing and, in some cases, food additives called starches might help. In the industrial kitchen starches are very important.

They are a widely used additive in ultra-processed food (UPF), which is rarely out of the headlines these days, with concerns that UPF’s are linked to cardiovascular disease. And as UPF’s form over half of the UK diet, starches crop up in all sorts of places, from the HP Sauce on your Christmas morning bacon sandwich to your Boxing Day trifle, and in everyday products like ready meals.

In recent years, many of us have traded down to budget products, and starches appear in the ingredients list of many. But why is starch so useful in ultra-processed food?

Dispatches visits the University of Nottingham to meet Gleb Yakubov. He explains how these laboratory starches are used in processed foods by making a tomato sauce. Traditionally tomato sauce would be made from, well, tomatoes…

“You can actually use the waste products from the manufacturing of the chopped tomatoes. So you have a lot of juice, and can use this to create a product,” explains Dr Yakubov.

If you add starch to this by-product, you can change the consistency, from watery juice to thick sauce. 

 You can watch Channel 4 Dispatches here from 21:20:40

Posted on Thursday 14th December 2023

School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

For all enquiries please visit:

Find us
Campus map
Room Locations on Campus [pdf file]