The results prompted the researchers to come up with a range of food prototypes. AZTI worked with the ADIMEN group of sociologists as well as chefs from the AZTI and Mugaritz team to come up with products that would be better adapted for the needs of over-65s.
“These consumers insist that the new proposals should be similar to or evoke traditional products and flavours and, at the same time, be health-enhancing, have the right nutrient profile for their age, and be flavoursome,” said the researchers.
Talking to FoodNavigator, research coordinator from AZTI Matxalen Uriarte said that eating should be a moment of pleasure regardless of age, but should also help older consumers stay healthy.
“Quality and flavour are the most important aspects for senior consumers when buying different products while sustainability, brand, price and simplicity of preparation are the least relevant aspects,” she said.
“This group is seeking a solution in foods to prevent the problems that emerge with the passing years. Among the disorders identified in the study as the ones giving cause for concern are cardiovascular disease, cancer and those relating to digestive health,” the researchers added.
Uriarte added that packaging was equally important, as nowadays most 'healthy' options resemble medical products. "Of course the packaging should be measured as the ageing population does not want to be reminded that they are losing abilities," she said.
"The study has revealed that the senior consumer does not feel identified with the products currently available on the market. Specifically, the study reveals that the messages on the labels neither address their needs nor coincide with the perception they have about their own health," added the researchers.
Source:Eurosense 2014 Congress
"Senior consumer preference: Maxdiff methodology as a measure of the relative importance of the attributes of the product at the time of purchase"
Authors: Ríos Y., García-Quiroga M. and Gartzia I.