A qualitative study of older adults’ and healthcare professionals’ perspectives on the potential of functional food products to support healthy ageing
Providing Mediterranean Diet (MD) nutrients in a minimally-processed functional food product may support healthy ageing, mediating favourable gut microbiota profiles when MD adherence is challenging. We thematically analysed stakeholders’ perspectives of functional food products targeting healthy ageing, through semi-structured individual and group interviews in Ireland, with 47 older-adults (recruited through social, retirement and disease-support groups); and 26 HCPs across a range of disciplines. Functional food products could provide a “boost” of hard-to-reach nutrients, supplementary fibre and/or protein, but there is caution with “silver bullet” products. Changing dentition (texture), appetite (portion size), dexterity (packaging; preparation ease) must be reflected, without stigmatising branding/presentation, while cost and availability were considered important. It was perceived that “sugar is the enemy”, while plant-based proteins were welcomed. In summary, novel food products could supplement, but not replace, a balanced diet for older adults, providing additional protein and fibre in a convenient, sustainable, carefully branded product.
SOLARBIOME: A novel food product harnessing the Mediterranean Diet to promote healthy aging by maintaining the gut microbiome
Science Foundation IrelandFind out more...
PublicationJournal of Functional Foods 107, 105689
Also affiliated with
- Health Research Institute (HRI)
Sustainable development goals
- (3) Good Health and Well-being
Department or School
- Allied Health
- Biological Sciences