Ask people of a certain age about video in the classroom, and they will recall anemic film strips with tones alerting the teacher when to advance to the next slide. If they were really lucky, they were treated to the occasional 8mm movie with stuttering audio that sounds like it was recorded underwater, the film periodically halting when it melted to the light bulb.
My, how times have changed. Within the span of a generation, the educational potential of video has exploded, empowering people of all ages with the opportunity to attain vast amounts of knowledge, and also to create their own content.
But the dizzying array of sites and sources can be a little intimidating, to say the least. Why should this matter to food and nutrition communicators? Video is quickly becoming the next frontier of education, and food and nutrition is no exception.
Without a doubt, YouTube has enormous power to shape conversations around food and nutrition. Currently the third most popular website in the world behind Google and Facebook, according to Alexa.com, calling YouTube the “800-pound gorilla” of video isn’t fair; it is more like King Kong. YouTube has about 50 percent more viewers than the three major U.S. network television newscasts combined, visited by the equivalent of one-seventh of the world population (that’s over 1 billion people) every month.
In addition to YouTube, two major video content providers are Vimeo and Facebook, the latter of which many organizations use to showcase their video content. More great food and nutrition information can be found among the bumper crop of streaming Internet video providers, including Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, and VUDU.
Finding Science-Based Food & Nutrition Video Content
As is all too common these days, some video content impresses with its polish and strikes our emotions, but doesn’t have science on its side. The reality these days is that you don’t have to be an expert to make a believable video that can go “viral” in a matter of minutes. The good news is that the science is there to be found.
IFIC Foundation’s FoodInsightTV is one such place to find science-based, consumer-friendly food safety and nutrition video content, including interviews with top experts, consumer insights, safe-food handling information, and most recently, an animated video on modern farming and food production. Others are also using video to highlight the work of today’s farmers, such as the Peterson brothers in their video, “I’m Farming and I Grow It,” which uses lyrics set to a popular song to provide a humorous and memorable way to teach people about farming.
To help you navigate the sometimes murky video waters, IFIC Foundation has provided, in no particular order, a baker’s dozen of YouTube channels and other sites with science-based food and nutrition-related content we think are worth checking out.
13 Fact-Based Food & Nutrition Video Sources
USDAFoodSafety: This channel from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service features a vast array of consumer-friendly videos about food safety and safe food-handling practices, many of which are in Spanish – and even American Sign Language.
USDAFoodAndNutrition: The USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s site presents a selection of videos and webinars, with a special focus on federal food and nutrition programs.
EatRightProTV: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ channel is a helpful resource for registered dietitians, in particular.
ASNMarketing: The channel of the American Society for Nutrition features videos related to nutrition science and research.
ILSIGlobal: The International Life Sciences Institute’s videos, which are more technical in nature, are aimed at academia, industry, and government audiences.
IFTLive: This channel of the Institute of Food Technologists is aimed at those in food science, food technology, and related professions.
JIFSANTraining: The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, a program of the FDA and the University of Maryland, focuses on food safety, human nutrition, and animal health and production. Its mission includes research, education, and outreach. (See the related “CFSAN” below.)
FoodSafety.gov: This website aggregates food safety video content from federal agencies, along with the Partnership for Food Safety Education, of which the IFIC Foundation is a partner.
FDA/CFSAN training videos: This page features videos with an international bent from the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, a scientific regulatory agency.
ACSH: The website of the American Council on Science and Health has numerous science-based videos about food and nutrition, and also other broader health topics.
iTunesU: An app-based spin-off of iTunes, content is organized like coursework, with videos supplemented by documents and other materials. A word of caution: You can find science-based information, as well as misleading information here, too; therefore, we recommend checking a science-based source for accuracy before using.
The Internet Archive: A treasure trove of film and videos since the dawn of the moving image, the Internet Archives’ offerings include food and nutrition topics. This website is especially a must for history buffs. (Interested in “Wartime Nutrition”? Then you’ve come to the right place.)
TED: TEDTalks feature some of the world’s greatest thought leaders sharing their greatest experiences and advice in an 18-minute talk. New TEDTalks are posted each weekday. Content spans the full spectrum of topics and are organized into playlists. Some that may be of interest include “Ideas for Healthier Cities,” “Education Ideas from Unlikely Places,” and “Great talks about talking.” A word of caution: You can find science-based information, as well as misleading information here, too; therefore, we recommend checking a science-based source for accuracy before using.
Next month we will explore a few strategies and best practices for budding broadcasters looking to find audiences for their own educational offerings. Until then, happy browsing!
Return to current issue.
JUNE 2016: Editor’s Note: Grill of My Dreams • Your Guide to the Updated Nutrition Facts Label • Future of Food, Part IV: A Farmer with a Vision • Switzerland's Culinary Footprint in the U.S.: A Conversation with Amb. Martin Dahinden • Science Sent: GMOs Are Safe to Eat • The Microbiome: A Mega-Field That’s Just Getting Started
(No May 2016 publication)
APRIL 2016: Editor’s Note: “Marching” Toward Better Health • 3 Tips to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” This National Nutrition Month • 8 Spices from Around the World • Future of Food, Part II: Serving Up Meat, Over Glass • Tip o’ the Mornin’ to You: Don’t Feel Green on St. Patrick’s Day (or Any Day)
MARCH 2016: Editor’s Note: “Marching” Toward Better Health • 3 Tips to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” This National Nutrition Month • 8 Spices from Around the World • Future of Food, Part II: Serving Up Meat, Over Glass • Tip o’ the Mornin’ to You: Don’t Feel Green on St. Patrick’s Day (or Any Day)
FEBRUARY 2016: Editor’s Note: Future Foods, Coming to a Plate Near You • Future of Food, Part I: Food Innovations of Tomorrow • Why You Should Check Food Labels for Potential Allergens • Super Confused About Super Foods? An Educated Consumer Is a Healthy Consumer • How Librarians Prevent the “Dunning-Kruger Effect” • Citrus: Great Fruits for Heart Health
JANUARY 2016: Editor’s Note: Gold Medals and Silver Anniversaries • Feeling List-less? Then Check Out This Litany of New Year’s Food Trends • Happy 25th Anniversary, IFIC Foundation!: Serving Up Food Insights • A History of Communication: Insights from IFIC Foundation’s Sylvia Rowe Fellows
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015: Chew on This: A Food Technologist Puts Red and Processed Meat in Perspective • Understanding, Evaluating, and Communicating Nutrition, Part III: Research Funding • Training the Next Generation of Science Communicators, Part II • Achoo!: Food and Other "Prescriptions" for Surviving Cold and Flu Season • When Nutrition Gets Personal: Study Shows New Frontiers in Understanding Glycemic Response
OCTOBER 2015: Orphan Crops • Answering the Challenge of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" • Weeding Through the Facts on Herbicide Resistance • Rainy Day in Nashville Fails to Dampen RDs' Spirits • Understanding, Evaluating, and Communicating Nutrition, Part II • Training the Next Generation of Science Communicators, Part I
SEPTEMBER 2015: 4 Clever Food Safety Hacks • Hashtags & Hyperbole • Understanding, Evaluating, and Communicating Nutrition, Part I
SUMMER 2015: What's Your Health Worth?, EXPO Milano 2015, "Single Study Syndrome"
MAY 2015: Future of Food (EXPO Milano), Grilling Tips, Food & Health Survey Webcast
APRIL 2015: Food & Nutrition Lessons from Mom, Microbiome, Flowers & Food Security
MARCH 2015: Chemophobia, Fitness Trackers, Dietary Guidelines 2015
FEBRUARY 2015: Farming Cocoa for Your Valentine’s Day Chocolate, At the Heart of Fats and Oils
DECEMBER 2014/JANUARY 2015: 2015 Food Trends Forecast, Gluten & Health, Life after PHOs
NOVEMBER 2014: A Very Southern Farm Tour, Diabetes Awareness, Turkey Safety for Thanksgiving
OCTOBER 2014: RDNs for Nutrition Expertise, Nutrition Behavior Profiles, Fall Food Days
SEPTEMBER 2014: Food Safety Month, Physical Activity & Obesity, Using Video for Education
AUGUST 2014: Back-to-School Nutrition, Pesticide & Health, Sustainable Nutrition
JULY 2014: Perceptions of Food Technology, Millennial Food Preferences, Introducing the FACTS Network
MAY/JUNE 2014: Food & Health Survey, Produce Safety, Summer Grilling Tips
APRIL 2014: ASN & Processed Food, "Banned Ingredients"
MARCH 2014: Nutrition is in Bloom - Changes to the NFP, Nutrient Adequacy, Trans Fat Q&A