Novel protein foods – what elderly need, what do elderly want 1

The growth of a heterogeneous group of seniors is an interesting demographic for the commercialisation of protein-enriched products. Relatively little is known about the factors that affect the appreciation and acceptation of products in this group of end-uses. Product appreciation is studied based on emotions related to protein-enriched products.

The overall objective of this project is to find an effective, efficient and actionable basis for the successful commercialisation of protein enriched foods for the elderly. The main focus will be on describing the significance of emotions and sensory aspects related to enriched products. This means that this project will look beyond 'liking'.

The heterogeneous group of senior citizens will be studied and described by using segmentation. This segmentation will provide insight into: the different experiences and needs with regard to the (emotional) significance of a meal, customs and habits during the meal and attitudes towards taste and health. These segments will be used during subsequent studies.

The first follow-up study will investigate the sensory-emotional properties of commercially available, blind-tested protein enriched products. The knowledge about these segments within the group of seniors will be combined with the sensory-emotional product profiles, to investigate whether the segment concerned chooses the ‘matching’ products more often. This is done to assess whether the sensory-emotional profiles are of added value in predicting food choice. This will be complemented by a home-use test, to asses the added value of emotional profiles beyond liking, in the prediction of product choice.

The influence of labelling and packaging on product choice will be assessed during later studies. Together with industrial partners, new protein-enriched products will also be developed. These products will be tested on their sensory-emotional predictability for product choice once more. The project will be concluded with a real-life study during which the knowledge obtained is combined and tested.

More research: Sensory and metabolic drivers of eating behaviour