Development, assessment and optimisation of meat systems for the aging consumer through processing and packaging modification

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Conroy, Paula M.
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University College Cork
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In response to the growing population of those aged over 65, it is essential we prepare for better quality of life not just increased life years. Sensory decline impacts, not just the way we perceive flavours, but the way we see food and the manner in which we handle food. The studies reported in this thesis examined the effects of sensory decline across a wide age cohort using different meat products. The thesis falls under two parts. Part 1 focused on the food aspect of sensory decline which assessed the impacts of texture modification, fat and salt-reduction, salt-substitution and flavour enhancement; all of which resulted in the development of the most enhanced product that incorporated aging consumer needs. Part 2 focussed on the decline in cognitive and physical ability which occurs as a result of the aging process in order to develop a more suitable, convenient and safe food package for the aging consumer. This thesis offers a design for establishing meal solutions for the elderly consumers based around meat products. Of all product attributes, texture was found to be a major determinant in establishing preferences in various age cohorts. It was found that softer foods which were easier to chew and swallow were favoured by older age cohorts. Flavour differences determined among varying age cohorts was also noted. Preferences for fat, fat-replacers, salt and salt-replacers were established. A consistent decreased perception for salt was noted in study participants aged 41-64 in three studies. The use of trained and consumer panels allowed for the development of the ‘ideal’ processed meat product which was then presented to older consumers in the elderly-friendly packaging formats which were highly accepted. Understanding the needs and requirements of the elderly consumers is paramount in encouraging independent, safe and healthy living of these individuals in our community. It is hoped that this study provides some evidence to educate and assist in this process.
Elderly , Optimisation , Meat , Sensory , Packaging
Conroy, P. M. 2018. Development, assessment and optimisation of meat systems for the aging consumer through processing and packaging modification. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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