Development of protein-enriched meal concepts tailored to the needs of elderly people

This project focusses on increasing the protein intake of the elderly by developing protein-enriched meals tailored to the regular eating patterns of this group of people. We hope that it will help to combat and prevent malnourishment, thereby optimising the health status and quality of life of elderly people.

More and more people are living beyond the age of 65. A significant number of these elderly people have a poor nutritional status, are malnourished or are in danger of becoming malnourished. This has a negative impact on their health and leads to high healthcare costs. The aim of this project is to increase the protein intake of the elderly in order to improve their general health and quality of life. It focusses on elderly people living at home but requiring extra assistance. In this respect, the project fits in well with the current policy of helping people to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

Together with our partner Food Connect, we will develop meal concepts with a high protein content. They will not be ‘medical’ products designed to satisfy all the daily protein requirements, which people are loathe to accept. We are trying to design products and meal concepts that fit in with elderly people’s regular eating patterns, which spread their protein intake across the day.

The first stage will involve conducting qualitative and quantitative studies to try to understand the main factors determining whether people accept protein-enriched meal concepts or not. Products and meals with a high protein content will then be developed on the basis of these findings. In the next phase, a group of elderly people will be asked to assess the products for flavour, quality, perception and acceptance.

We hope that this project will help us find a way to optimise the protein status of the elderly, thereby helping to improve their health, autonomy and overall quality of life.

More research: Nutrition and ageing

More research: Prevention of diet-related non-communicable diseases