Integrated approach to develop protein-enriched foods oriented at older consumers

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

  • Xiao Song
With the rapid aging of the population worldwide, it is of great importance to support older adults inmaintaining good well-being and independence. Developing and commercializing functional foodscould not only help fulfill the nutritional demands of older adults and promote healthy and active aging but also be profitable for food industries, concerning the expanding size and spending powerof this silver population. Because of biological aging, older adults have increased needs for dietaryproteins but decreased dietary protein intake in general. Inadequate protein intake is associated with higher incidence of malnutrition problems such as loss of muscle mass and strength (e.g. sacopenia).In this context, protein-enriched functional foods are needed to help promote protein intake among older adults.
Understanding target consumers is a basis for consumer-oriented new product development. Thesuccess of protein-enriched functional foods largely depends on the degree to which the productsmeet the needs and wants of the targeted consumers. Furthermore, sensory perception andpreferences among older consumers (person), sensory palatability of food products (product), andeating or consumption situations (context) also play important roles in affecting consumers’ food acceptance and related behavior.
In this thesis, sensory acceptable rye bread and cream cheese prototypes enriched with substantialamount of high-quality proteins were developed targeted at older consumers, based on a deepunderstanding of older consumers’ sensory perception and preferences, attitudes towards and acceptance of protein-enriched foods. In addition, eating contexts were utilized to evaluate contextual effects using immersive virtual reality on consumer acceptance of protein-enriched rye bread.
Older consumers were found to be most willing to purchase healthy, traditional foods enriched with protein. They had increased willingness to purchase protein-enriched products if the products were tailored to them. The healthy, traditional carriers which have sufficient roles in older consumers’diet (meal component) were regarded as potential carriers in the development of protein-enriched foods in this PhD study.
Rye bread and cream cheese prototypes enriched with whey protein hydrolysate (WPH), wheyprotein isolate (WPI), and/or soy protein isolate (SPI) were developed. During the recipe optimizing period, efforts were put in making the protein-enriched product as similar to the unenriched versionas possible. The sensory characters and consumer acceptance of protein-enriched prototypes were evaluated. The changes of sensory properties caused by protein-enrichment were counteracted sufficiently. WPH and blend of WPH and SPI were found to be more promising for rye breadenrichment. Sour taste and dry texture had crucial influences on older consumers’ acceptance of rye bread. The flavor of WPI-enriched cream cheese with additional butter influenced consumer acceptance positively. The most liked protein-enriched prototypes had doubled content of protein compared to the non-enriched version, which could contribute to the improvement of protein intakeamong older consumers potentially.
The immersive virtual reality (VR) environments were used to explore contextual effects on senior consumers’ acceptance of protein-enriched rye bread. Results showed that immersive VR restaurantand VR cinema induced positive sensations of presence and heightened level of engagement. VR restaurant and neutral contexts were perceived as more appropriate for consuming rye breads andinduced higher desire and liking for rye breads, which supported the alignment effect of congruentcontexts on food desire and liking. These results indicated the immersive VR technology could be apromising tool for manipulating versatile environmental cues in consumer acceptance research. Moreover, results of the food intake study showed that the protein-enriched meal combined withprotein-enriched rye bread increased independent older adults’ protein intake substantially in aneutral eating environment.
In summary, in this PhD thesis, sensory acceptable protein-enriched prototypes enriched with substantial amount of high-quality proteins were developed for the nutritional needs of older consumers. The findings and knowledge in this thesis could provide practical insights to assist older consumer-oriented functional food innovation and evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Food Science, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 204187712