In the elderly population, one of the restrictive factors in the diet may be that some foods become troublesome-to-eat as muscle strength deteriorates with age. The aim of the study was to explore what characteristics of foods may cause eating difficulties among elderly respondents in Finland and the United Kingdom (UK). Participants (n=77 in Finland and n=76 in the UK) were from two age groups (23–40 and 60+). Troublesome-to-eat and easy-to-eat texture characteristics of 19 fruit and 19 vegetables were elicited using a combination of sorting and laddering interview techniques. Data were analysed separately for the two age groups and the two countries. The attributes that were found to be the most troublesome for both age groups and both countries were the presence of peel or seeds, and hard and fibrous textures. The main consequences of these attributes were a difficulty to bite into, to chew, to swallow, or to prepare. Although, the troublesome texture attributes were perceived almost in the same way in the two age groups, younger respondents were more elaborate than the older age group in describing the difficulties various textures caused them. The British respondents identified more different attributes and troublesome consequences of fruit and vegetable textures than the Finnish respondents. However, the main structures of the hierarchical value maps were very similar.
Roininen, K., Fillion, L., Kilcast, D., & Lähteenmäki, L. (2004). Exploring difficult textural properties of fruit and vegetables for the elderly in Finland and the United Kingdom. Food Quality and Preference, 15(6), 517-530. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2003.11.003