The Nutrition Society Spring Conference 2018, held in Glasgow, brought together experts focusing on the interaction between different nutrients and how this impacts absorption, metabolism and health from biochemical and physiological perspectives. This cross-cutting theme was examined from a range of perspectives, bringing together experts on topics ranging from food processing to the impact of inflammation on nutrient status. Two plenary lectures provided a food landscape and lifecourse background to the proceedings, with on the first day a focus on processed/ultra-processed foods and their nutrient composition and, on the second day, a plenary lecture exploring the role that nutrient–nutrient interactions within the maternal diet have for the lifelong health of the offspring. The meeting was framed around three symposia, examining the competition and bioavailability of dietary components, nutrient–nutrient interactions and their role in protection from chronic diseases and the mechanisms of nutrient–nutrient interactions. The meeting ended with a round table, and an overall conclusion highlighting the opportunities to derive further understanding of the short- and long-term implications of diets through the study of nutrient–nutrient interactions.