Food for seniors: Final report

Raija-Liisa Heiniö, Saara Pentikäinen, Elina Rusko, Liisa Peura-Kapanen

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    Food for Seniors (2011-2014) is a project, coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, National Consumer Research Centre being the other research partner. The industrial platform of the project consisted of 10 enterprises: four food companies, three catering companies, two packaging companies and one market research company participated. The overall aim of the project was to develop enjoyable meals in convenient packages for senior consumers. Background information for the research was gathered in literature and market surveys, consumer research, and workshops. Based on surveys among senior consumers it became evident that the current ready meals are generally not appreciated by seniors because they are not considered to fulfil the requirements for a good meal. There were seen deficiencies both in foods and packages. There seem to be also a strong desire among many seniors to prepare their food by themselves. There was an interest to study the sensory characteristics of developed meals using the target age group. Thus, senior panels were trained for sensory evaluation. To the best of our belief, these are the only trained senior sensory panels in the world. Model meals and packages were developed in the project. The sensory characteristics of the model meals were optimised by descriptive method by the trained senior sensory panel. The results showed that the trained senior panel is more sensitive to food texture than younger panellists, and thus evaluate hard texture harder than younger. Saltiness is important for taste perception for seniors. However, the amount of salt could be remarkably lowered by adding spices without diminishing the salty perception. Due to rather small dish portions, the meals intended for seniors should be fortified. In the enriched model meals the fibre content was successfully increased (up to 170%) and the quality of fat improved. The protein content of the model meal was also increased in some extent. Regarding the package concepts, seniors considered food packages with separate compartments most convenient. The possibility to see the food through a window on the package, clear markings, and easiness to open the package were considered as important features. In addition, need for improvements in the usability of packages - easiness to open and easiness to read the information - were found in several commercial packages.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages25
    ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-8200-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Technology


    • senior
    • consumer
    • food
    • nutrition
    • packaging
    • sensory quality


    Dive into the research topics of 'Food for seniors: Final report'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this