Novel protein foods – what elderly need, what do elderly want 2

There is a growing interest in proteins as essential nutrients for elderly. Until recently, elderly were advised to consume the same amount of proteins as younger adults, but studies have suggested that some elderly may need more proteins. Our research aims to look into the psychological side of this finding and better understand the elderly consumer.

There are many reasons why elderly may not eat enough proteins: dentures can be problematic in chewing and swallowing meat, elderly may experience a lack of appetite (for example due to losses in their sense of taste) and they may be unaware of the importance of protein consumption. Elderly should thus be informed about proteins, but it may also be useful to develop protein products that can overcome problems with appetite and dentures. 

Protein-enriched conventional foods

We think that protein-enriched conventional foods such as desserts or meat replacements may be useful. These enriched products can be consumed in small portions and product companies can take into account the various preferences of elderly consumers when developing these products. 

Segmentation study

However, to efficiently market these products we first have to learn more about the preferences, needs and resources of the heterogeneous group of elderly consumers. Our project will start off with a segmentation study, wherein we want to distinguish between groups of elderly with different needs and preferences regarding protein-enriched food. We will recommend how marketers can position protein-enriched foods in the market for each of these groups. In a next study, we will look into the various choice processes that play a role in elderly in the purchase and consumption of novel food products.