Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Aguilera J.M. and Park D.J. (2016)

Texture-modified foods for the elderly: Status, technology and opportunities

Revista : Trends in Food Science & Technology
Volumen : 57
Páginas : 156-164
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación



The group of elderly people (e.g., 65 + years old) exhibits the fastest growth rate among all populations segments. By 2050 worldwide there will be more than 400 million individuals aged over 80 years. Providing soft, palatable and healthy texture modified (TM) foods for seniors, particularly those with masticatory/swallowing dysfunctions and/or needing special nutrition, is a major challenge for the food industry.

Scope and approach

This review starts with the most frequent physiological dysfunctions related to the food intake and specific nutritional needs that develop in aging. Bases for formation of soft TM foods, particularly soft gels and microparticles from food biopolymers, are revised. Technological approaches to soften foods, produce small soft particles and microgels, and emerging structuring microtechnologies are presented.

Key findings and conclusions

Feeding the elderly with tasty and nutritious foods is a preoccupation in many countries of the world. TM foods are classified according to their textural and rheological properties from thin liquids to softened foods. Japan and South Korea appear to lead in commercial efforts. In the meantime, scientific knowledge is accumulating on the characteristics of raw materials to be used, mechanisms leading to structure formation and the control of desirable properties, particularly those related to texture. Several opportunities arise for the design of soft and tasty products and carriers to feed the elderly safely and nutritiously.