Dr Clare Pettinger

Dr Clare Pettinger

Associate Professor in Public Health Dietetics

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)

Dr Clare Pettinger can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Nutrition
  • Public health dietetics
  • Public health nutrition
  • Food insecurity
  • Food justice
  • Food systems and sustainability


Clare Pettinger is an award winning Registered Dietitian, Public Health Nutritionist and experienced educator, who is actively engaged in community-focussed research around food systems, poverty and social justice.
She is passionate about radical creative approaches to tackle local (and global) health, (in)equality and social well-being challenges.
Currently (from Feb 2021) Principal Investigator (Plymouth workpackage) for 5 year national consortium project led by University of Reading (Chief investigator Professor Carol Wagstaff) 'Co-producion of healthy, sustainable food systems for disadvantaged communities'. £6million funded by UK Research and Innovations (UKRI) Strategic Priorities fund. Leading local research team, liaising nationally and training community food researchers in Plymouth to support inclusive approaches to food system change (see PhD student). This includes additional strands of activity: i) FoodSEqual-Health (Fresh Street fruit & vegetable voucher intervention) £65K and ii) Synergy project (shared lead with Prof Charlotte Hardman) £25K - What does 'co-production' look like for Food System Transformation? Mapping and curating the evidence across the Transforming the UK Food System (TUKFS) programme.
Previously (2015-2018): Led the 'Food as a Lifestyle Motivator' (FLM) project (British Academy funded), exploring creative methods to engage 'marginalized' communities in food activities to enhance their health, well-being and life skills. See publications and link: FLM project See recent documentary film: Food on the margins in Plymouth (produced by Fotonow CIC, funded via Creative Associates award from Sustainable Earth Institute).
Completed research fellowship (2017) to evaluate the initial stages of the Thrive Plymouth (4-4-54) 10 year inequalities programme, which led to winning the CAHPR Public Health Research award. Previously led comprehensive process evaluation of the Cities of Service 'Grow, share, cook' project in Plymouth (2016).
Clare is an enthusiastic 'sustainability advocate' involved in promoting 'collaborative leadership for sustainability' (2022 collaborating with Smita Tripathi Plymouth Business School) and environmentally sustainable diets for nutrition professionals and Allied Health Professionals. She regularly engages with the faculty Sustainability Health & Wellbeing Interest Group (SHWIG), working with staff and alumni to develop more sustainable practices in education and healthcare. She also worked with British Dietetic Association to co-produce One Blue Dot campaign & AHP sustainability advisory group, for which she was nominated for a 'Greener AHP' award (CAHPO) in 2022. She previously won highly commended for a 2017 SSTAR award for sustainability in the curriculum. She delivered the prestigious British Dietetic Association's Elsie Widdowson memorial lecture on 6th September 2022 with the title 'How Dietitians Can Protect the Planet'. Presented evidence (on behalf of BDA) in parliament at APPG Food&Health Forum (6.12.22) on 'Healthy Sustainable Diets'. Won Caroline Walker Trust 'Lecturer of the Year' award (2023) for 'sustainable food'.


  • 1999 BSc Hons Nutrition & Dietetics, Glasgow Caledonian University (2i)
  • 2004 PhD Public Health Nutrition, University of Nottingham "A comparison of the influences on food choice in Southern France and Central England"
  • 2007 Post Graduate certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Professional membership

  • Health & Care Professions Council - Registered Dietitian
  • Association for Nutrition - Registered Nutritionist (Public Health)
  • Member of British Dietetic Association (BDA) 
  • Public Health Nutrition Network (BDA specialist group)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (from 2008)

Roles on external bodies

  • Advisor to the the BDA Sustainable Diets specialist group (from 2022)
  • Chief Allied Health Profession (AHP) Officers pre-reg curriculum guidance design for environmental sustainability in curricula (advisory group) 2023
  • Chief Alllied Health Professional (AHP) Officers Sustainability Advisory Group (from June 2020-July 2021)
  • Greener AHP Advisory Group (from October 2021)
  • British Dietetic Association (BDA) steering group for Environmentally Sustainable Diets (2017-2019) One Blue Dot
  • Food Plymouth partnership - Action lead for Health and Wellbeing (food equality/poverty focus)
  • Strategic Lead Plymouth Food Equality Project (2017-2021)
  • Sunflower Recovery Project steering group (2016-2019)
  • Editorial Board for Urban Food Futures (online magazine) (from 2017-2021)
  • Advisory panel for Food Research Collaboration (from March 2018-2020)


Teaching interests

Programme Lead for MSc Human Nutrition
Main teaching responsibilities include Undergraduate (Dietetics) and PostGraduate (Human Nutrition):
  • 'Food choice' /availability/access
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Environmentally Sustainable Diets
  • Food Systems
  • Inequalities, food (in)security, poverty and social justice
  • Nutritioinal Epidemiology
  • Research skills
I also deliver Public Health Nutrition for other faculties.
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with a keen interest in enhancing student learning experiences using creative pedagogic methods. 
Won Caroline Walker Trust 'Lecturer of the Year' (sustainable food) 2023
Nominated for SSTAR award (Feb 2017) for 'sustainability within the curriculum'

Staff serving as external examiners

Previously external examiner for Sheffield Hallam University (2013-17) Masters in Public Health Management


Research interests

My research falls into two broad fields:
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Pedagogy

Public Health Nutrition

(current - from 1st Feburary 2021) “Co-production of healthy, sustainable food systems for disadvantaged communities” UKRI funded (£6milliion) - 5 year national consortium led by University of Reading (I lead Plymouth workpackage £604K) led by The University of Reading (Professor Carol Wagstaff)
Previous (2015-18) The 'Food as a Lifestyle Motivator' (FLM) project: Using Creative methods to explore food as a lifestyle motivator to enhance health, well-being and life-skills in marginalized communities. Funded by ISSR, ESRC and British Academy 
Interests: Critical nutrition/dietetics - creative methods - food systems - co-production - community engagement - evaluation of community food projects


Current - (2022) Collaborative leadership for sustainability in Allied Health Professionals (collaboration with Smita Tripathi, Plymouth Business School - Small collaborative Arts/Health seed fund Dec 2021)
Previous - Exploring the importance of 'sustainability principles' for dietetic practice and how to streamline these into the dietetic curriculum (PEDRIO award)
Supporting students with Specific Learning Difficulties on placement
Keen interest in participatory creative and visual methodologies, and use of knowledge exchange and 'Public Engagement', making research more accessible to diverse audiences

Research groups

Other research

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Supervising PhD Students:Mx Hannah Gardiner - (working title) A 'Community Food Researcher' model: exploring the impact of community based research for food systems transformation . Start date Jan 2022 (linked to FoodSEqual)

Grants & contracts

Public Health Nutrition

  • Community grants (Food Power) 2018-2020 to run Food Equality Project
  • Food Plymouth (Sustainable Food Places) grant holder (2020)
  • British Academy summer showcase - 2019
  • Recently completed (2017) British Academy/Leverhulme small grant (£10K) to evolve the creative methods used in the 'Food as a Lifestyle Motivator' (FLM) to turn these into solutions for engaging individuals through food activities.
  • 2015 (April) £3K Plymouth City Council - independent evaluation 'Grow Share Cook'
  • 2010 £1500 Dept Health local - evaluation consultancy 'Food Cultures'

University of Plymouth internal funding bids:

  • 2015 - 2020; 2023 - annual award funding success to host ESRC Festival of Social Science food event
  • 2014 (March) £5K - ISSR small collaborative award - food as a 'lifestyle motivator'
  • 2015 (Jan) £1K - IHC pump priming grant 


  • 2021 (Dec) £2K Collaborative Leadership for Sustainability in Allied Health Professionals
  • 2016 (June) £4500 PedRIO Teaching Innovation fund 'exploring importance of sustainability principles for dietitians.
  • 2014 (Jan) £19K Inclusivity Development project 'creating an interactive toolkit for supporting health profession students with Specific learning difficulties on placement

Creative practice & artistic projects

Food on the Margins in Plymouth- documentary film co-created with Fotonow CIC - funded via Sustainable Earth Institute Creative Associates Award


Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Pettinger C, Hunt L, Gardiner H, Garg P, Howard L & Wagstaff C (2023) 'Engaging with ‘less affluent’ communities for food system transformation: a community food researcher model (FoodSEqual project)' Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 1-42 , DOI Open access
Jones A, Bridle S, Denby K, Bhunoo R, Morton D, Stanborough L, Coupe B, Pilley V, Benton T & Faloon P (2023) 'Scoping Potential Routes to UK Civil Unrest via the Food System: Results of a Structured Expert Elicitation' Sustainability 15, (20) , DOI Open access
Hunt L, Pettinger C & Wagstaff C (2023) 'A critical exploration of the diets of UK disadvantaged communities to inform food systems transformation: a scoping review of qualitative literature using a social practice theory lens' BMC Public Health , DOI Open access
Pettinger C & Ellwood J (2023) 'Food on the Margins: A Creative Film Collaboration to Amplify the Voices of Those Living with Food Insecurity' Sociological Research Online , DOI Open access
Pettinger C, Tripathi S, Shoker B & Hodge G (2023) 'Collaborative leadership to support sustainability in practice for dietitians as allied health professionals' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics , DOI Open access
Pettinger C (2021) 'A creative response to food issues during the Covid-19 lockdown: Singing over the anger' Critical Dietetics 5, (3) 4-11 , DOI Open access
Pettinger C, Parsons J, Letherby G, Cunningham M, Withers L & Whiteford A (2019) 'Participatory food events as collaborative public engagement opportunities' Methodological Innovations , DOI Open access
Pettinger C (2018) 'Sustainable eating: Opportunities for nutrition professionals' Nutrition Bulletin , DOI Open access
Pettinger C, Letherby G, Parsons JM, Withers L, Cunningham M, Whiteford A, D'Aprano G, Ayres R & Sutton C (2018) 'Employing Participatory Methods to Engage an Under-Researched Group: opportunities and challenges' Methodological Innovations 11, (1) , DOI Open access
Turbott C, Richardson J & Pettinger C (2018) 'The impact of hot food takeaways near schools in the UK on childhood obesity: A systematic review of the evidence' Journal of Public Health , DOI Open access
Williamson S, McGregor-Shenton M, Brumble B, Wright B & Pettinger C (2017) 'Deprivation and Healthy Food Access, Cost and Availability: A Cross-Sectional Study' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics , DOI Open access
Pettinger C, Parsons JM, Cunningham M, Withers L, D'Aprano G, Letherby G, Sutton C, Whiteford A & Ayres R (2017) 'Engaging homeless individuals in discussion about their food experiences to optimise wellbeing: A pilot study' Health Education Journal , DOI Open access
Watt RG, Draper A, Ohly HR, Rees GA, Pikhart H, Cooke L, Moore L, Crawley H, Pettinger C & McGlone P (2014) 'Methodological development of an exploratory randomised controlled trial of an early years’ nutrition intervention: Cherry (Choosing Healthy Eating when Really Young)' Maternal Child Nutrition 10, 280-294
Ohly HR, Hayter A, Pettinger C, Pikhart H, Watt RG & Rees GA (2013) 'Developing a nutrition intervention in children's centres: exploring views of parents in rural/urban settings in the UK' Public Health Nutr 16, (8) 1516-1521 Author Site , DOI
Ohly H, Pealing J, Hayter AK, Pettinger C, Pikhart H, Watt RG & Rees GA (2013) 'Parental food involvement predicts parent and child intakes of fruits and vegetables' Appetite 69, 8-14
Hayter AKM, Draper AK, Ohly HR, Rees GA, Pettinger C, McGlone P & Watt RG (2013) 'A qualitative study exploring parental accounts of feeding pre-school children in two low-income populations in the UK' Maternal and Child Nutrition doi: 10.1111/mcn.12017,
Pettinger C (2007) 'Joan Webster-Gandy, Angela Madden and Michelle Holdsworth (editors). Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and DieteticsOxford, UK: Oxford University Press2006. pp. 776 £24.95 ISBN 0 19 856725 1' British Journal of Nutrition 98, (3) 659-659 Publisher Site , DOI
Pettinger C (2007) ''All under one roof?' differences in food availability and shopping patterns in Southern France and Central England' The European Journal of Public Health 18, (2) 109-114 , DOI
Pettinger C, Holdsworth M & Gerber M (2007) 'Meal patterns and cooking practices in Southern France and Central England' Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 51, 308-309
Pettinger C, Holdsworth M & Gerber M (2006) 'Meal patterns and cooking practices in Southern France and Central England' Public Health Nutrition 9, (8) 1020-1026
Pettinger C, Holdsworth A & Gerber A (2004) 'Psycho-social influences on food choice in Southern France and Central England' Appetite 42, (3) 307-316
Shaw N, Hardman C, Boyle N, Craven J, Dooley J, Mead B, Morgans L, Mumby H & Pettinger C 'What does ‘co-production’ look like for food system transformation? Mapping the evidence across Transforming UK Food Systems (TUKFS) projects' Nutrition Bulletin Open access
Carlsson L, Mehta K & Pettinger C (2019) 'Critical Dietetics and Sustainable Food Systems' in Coveney J; Booth S Critical Dietetics and Critical Nutrition Studies Switzerland Springer 97-115 , DOI Open access
Carlsson L, Mehta K & Pettinger C (2019) 'Critical Dietetics and Sustainable Food Systems' Food Policy Springer International Publishing 97-115 Publisher Site , DOI
Parsons J & Pettinger C (2017) '‘Liminal identities’ and power struggles, reflections on the regulation of everyday foodways at a homeless centre and the use of creative participatory research as a tool of empowerment and resistance' in Bleakley A; Lynch L; Whelan G Risk and Regulation at the Interface of Medicine and the Arts Dangerous Currents Cambridge Cambridge Scholars 171-189 Author Site Publisher Site Open access
Marshall D & Pettinger C (2009) 'Revisiting British Meals' in Meiselman HL Meals in Science and Practice: Interdisciplinary research and business applications Oxford Woodhead Publishing Ltd
Conference Papers
Bourlakis M, Sawyerr E & Pettinger C (2022) 'Mapping Food Supply Chains for UK Disadvantaged Communities: A focus on Plymouth' 53rd Annual Conference of the Decision Sciences Institute Open access
Pettinger C, Cunningham M, Parsons JM, Ayres R, D'Aprano G, Whiteford A & Letherby G (2016) 'USING CREATIVE METHODS TO ENGAGE ‘MARGINALIZED’ GROUPS IN FOOD/NUTRITION ACTIVITIES: A PLYMOUTH PILOT STUDY' International Congress of Dietetics Granada, Spain 9-/-0/20169-/-0/2016Open access
Burnett R, Hallam C, Kirby R, Ponting H, White N & Pettinger C (2016) 'Exploring food experiences and challenges in traditionally hard-to-reach adults through a cross-sectional questionnaire' Open access
Watt RG, Hayter A, Ohly H, Pikhart H, Draper A, Crawley H, McGlone P, Cooke L, Moore L & Pettinger C (2013) 'An exploratory randomised controlled trial of a public health nutrition intervention delivered in children's centres in Islington and Cornwall' Elsevier BV S100-S100 Publisher Site , DOI
Pettinger C & Bonney R (2016) Process Evaluation Cities of Service ‘Grow, Share, Cook’ Project Plymouth. Plymouth City Council Plymouth Author Site Open access
Pettinger C & Whitelaw E (2012) Food Cultures: Growing Cooking Eating - An exploration of improving food practices in young men and older adults in Plymouth. Department of Health (SW); NHS; Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) Plymouth Author Site Open access
Presentations and posters
Methven L, Smith R, Zischka L, Pettinger C, Hunt L, Briazu R, Bluemling C, McCloy R, Lloyd-Evans S & Bennett T Methven L, Smith R, Zischka L, Pettinger C, Hunt L, Briazu R, Bluemling C, McCloy R, Lloyd-Evans S & Bennett T 'Co-creation with Disadvantaged Communities: A participatory “shopping basket” method exploring what people eat and potential for change' Open access
Pettinger C, Atherton E & Miller W Pettinger C, Atherton E & Miller W 'Engaging student dietitians in ‘sustainability principles’ throughout the curriculum: an exploratory pedagogic workshop'' , DOI Open access
Pettinger C Pettinger C 'Food narratives from women in recovery (from alcohol and substance abuse)' Open access
Pettinger C & Atherton E Pettinger C & Atherton E 'Mainstreaming ‘sustainable food’ as a health issue? A workshop to share best practice in sustainable public health food policy' Open access
Pettinger C, Bannigan K, Nelder R & Nnoaham K Pettinger C, Bannigan K, Nelder R & Nnoaham K 'Uncovering the complexity of workplace wellbeing using a cross-case analysis approach' Open access
Other Publications
Telford-Penfound F & Smith J (2023) Sustainability in Nutrition & Dietetics: Where are we now?. Complete Media and Marketing Ltd Open access
Pettinger C (2023) Sustainable Diets: improving planetary and population health (evidence summary for policymakers). University of Plymouth Sustainable earth Institute Open access
Pettinger C (2018) Helping women recover from drug and alcohol addiction – can food play a part?. Publisher Site
Flint P, Pettinger C, schoen V, Segal R, Taylor R, Wheeler B & Williams C (2017) Using the Arts for Food Research and Dialogue. London Food Research Collaboration Publisher Site Open access
Cooking Beat the Demons in my head.
Pettinger C Creative collaborative ways of ‘doing’ and ‘sharing’ research. Publisher Site
Food: On the Margins in Plymouth. Fotonow CIC
Gastrointestinal symptoms in the peri- and postmenopause: a protocol for a scoping review. Open access


Other academic activities

Programme Lead for MSc Human NutritionPreviously - Marketing and Admissions tutor for BSc (Hons) Dietetics programme - Values Based Recruitment 
Actively engaged in communication activities that promote (nutritional and sustainable) health and wellbeing of students and staff in the University and other local sectors and communities
Have acted as peer reviewer for various journals: e.g. Appetite; Journal of Human Nutrition & Dietetics; Public Health Nutrition
Invited reviewer for Department of Health Policy Research Programme
Frequent media engagement 

Additional information

Personal interests:Mother of twin boys (Clyde and Jago), born July 2011
Music and performance: The Singing Dietitian(YouTube); lead vocalist in 9 piece soul/funk band The Cuckoo Collective; 4 female a capella group The Q-dettes; Trustee for Plymouth Music Zone; art and craft; cooking; fund-raising; running, wild swimming...