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Barossa Village Inc (SA)

Nuriootpa, SA

Foods with a Bite

Barossa Village Nursing Home, Barossa Village Incorporated

Residential and Home Care - Regional - 80 beds/ Consumers or more

Award descriptors

  • Consumer engagement and/or co-design
  • Dementia care
  • Health and wellbeing

Project to create and implement innovative foods “with a bite” for older people with swallowing issues (dysphagia), using an evidence-based consumer-centred approach.

About the program

In this application we describe our project to create innovative foods “with a bite”, for older people with swallowing issues (dysphagia). Despite the fact that 50% of aged care residents suffer from this condition, there are still no better options than pureed foods for them. As a result people with dysphagia are at high risk of malnutrition and miss out on real food experiences. Our overall objective was to improve food intake and experiences of people with dysphagia, and thereby ultimately improve their quality of life.

Most people will think of posh restaurants when the terms molecular gastronomy or science-based cooking are used. What if molecular gastronomy enters aged care? As opposed to blending foods into purees with a uniform flavour and texture, molecular gastronomy could be the new standard for sensory-appealing texture modified foods. Clearly, the “customers” are noticeably different in aged care compared to top end restaurants. We therefore followed an evidence-based consumer-centred approach to develop new molecular gastronomy foods for older people with dysphagia.

The project consisted of consecutive steps to move from consumer insights to new products while involving all relevant stakeholders: residents, family, staff and experts. We first obtained a real-world understanding of residents’ food experiences through observations and interviews (n=25). Combined with information from literature and experts, this led to a user-needs food product development framework for aged care. Key need themes were: Sensory Pleasure, Product Variety and Person Empowerment.

Next, we held a co-creation workshop to develop ideas and provide input for product development. The workshop group concluded that finger foods and mid-meal snacks were most urgent. In the prototyping phase, our chef therefore focussed on creating a gelling ingredient and a range of sweet and savoury snack options. Molecular gastronomy enabled the development of foods with a relative firm texture, but safe to swallow, with a real food appearance and different flavours.

Finally, the new mid-meal snacks were implemented and tested by our residents with dysphagia. We performed a plate waste study (pre-post design, 28 days, 23 residents) to compare food intake of current mid-meals snacks with the new foods. The results showed that the new snacks were very acceptable and that residents consumed significantly more energy and protein during morning/afternoon tea with these new items (average 897 kJ, 5.7 g protein) compared to the regular offerings (average 535 kJ, 3.5 g protein).

Staff also recorded resident responses, which highlights how these new snacks restored lost food experiences:  “This is beautiful…I haven’t had tomato for ages!”

In conclusion:

  • We successfully applied molecular gastronomy in aged care and created innovative mid-meal snacks for people with dysphagia.
  • These sensory appealing molecular gastronomy foods are very acceptable and appropriate for residents on a texture-modified diet. It increases nutritional intake and returns long lost food experiences.  
  • The inclusive innovation trajectory shows that involving residents, family and staff in new product development is possible and desirable in order to bring about change in aged care food services.


More information on this program

Vitish Guddoy at or call 0409035987

Friday, 21 December 2018 - 6:19am