Background: The population of older adults is growing and many are at risk of disease-related malnutrition.This is a serious condition which increases the risk for other diseases and distress, human suffering and puts ahigh load on health care costs. Meal concepts tailored to suit the needs of older adults are required to decreasethe incidence of disease-related malnutrition.
Objective: To evaluate sensory perception regarding a concept of small, protein and energy-enriched multicomponentmeals designed according to the nutritional needs of older adults.
Design: A meal concept of small main courses with complementary desserts and protein and energy-enrichedproducts was evaluated using triangle tests, hedonic evaluation and focus group discussion. Enriched saucesand meals were compared to corresponding commercial products regarding appearance, taste, consistency andoverall acceptance.
Results: The concept of a small main course with a complementary dessert was generally perceived as positiveby the target group. The acceptance scores for the enriched meals were generally lower than for the commercialmeals, mainly owing to the packaging of the enriched meals which required covering the food in sauce.Enriched sauces contained approximately 90% more protein than the commercial sauces. However, proteinenrichment affected the sensory properties of the sauces and they were perceived as thicker, creamier and lessflavour-intensive.
Conclusions: A concept based on small, protein and energy-enriched meals supplemented with a dessert wasconsidered suitable for increasing the energy and protein intakes of older adults provided that the method ofenrichment ensures attractive sensorial properties.
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