OptiFEI Project

OptilFEl (Optimised Food products for Elderly populations) has as its ultimate goal to contribute to elders’ health by combating denutrition due to both physical capacities diminution and appetite loss. The concept of Optifel is to translate the knowledge on nutritional needs, food preferences and physical capacities into accurate specifications for food products and packaging. Food products (including packaging and food serving methods) will then be elaborated using both traditional and alternative technologies to meet these specifications and their acceptance tested by elderly.

The population targeted by the project is elderly persons cooking at home or making use of meal-on-wheels services for whom the project will conceive food products adapted to their taste, habits, needs and constraints. The range of solutions envisaged span from taste and texture to nutritional quality, and microbial safety through packaging and delivery mode.

Optifel will test the approach on fruit and vegetable products, which traditionally constitute a high part of elderly diet, offer great variety, and are amenable to texture manipulation. Optifel aims to -

  • Collect, refine and formalise user needs and expectations in terms of sensory and nutritional quality, texture, packaging’s cognitive and biomechanical ergonomics, and preparation convenience.
  • Translate elders and caregivers’ needs and expectations into food products and packaging functional specifications to be delivered under the form of conceptual food models.
  • Design and develop food processing and packaging to produce prototypes fulfilling the specifications.
  • Assess the actual properties of the prototypes after food preparation and identify critical points during final preparation and serving.
  • Test the prototype products in meals-on-wheels and in nursing homes to evaluate their acceptance by elderly persons and care-givers.

The workpackages objectives

  1. User specifications
  2. Functional requirement specifications
  3. Design and processing of novel food products
  4. Impact of food storage and preparation of food product properties
  5. Product acceptance at homes and nursing homes
  6. Dissemination and technology transfer
  7. Consortium coordination and project management

Publications and outputs

Sarkar A. 2019. Oral processing in elderly: Understanding eating capability to drive future food texture modifications. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 78(3), pp. 329-339 Laguna L, Picouet P, Dolors Guardia M, Renard CMGC, Sarkar A. 2017.

In vitro gastrointestinal digestion of pea protein isolate as a function of pH, food matrices, autoclaving, high-pressure and re-heat treatments. LWT - Food Science and Technology. 84, pp. 511-519 Laguna L, Sarkar A. 2016.

Influence of mixed gel structuring with different degrees of matrix inhomogeneity on oral residence time. Food Hydrocolloids. 61, pp. 286-299 Laguna L, Hetherington M, Chen J, Artigas G, Sarkar A. 2016. Measuring eating capability, liking and difficulty perception of older adults: A textural consideration. Food Quality and Preference. 53, pp. 47-56 Laguna L, Asensio Barrowclough R, Chen J, Sarkar A. 2016.

New approach to food difficulty perception: food structure, food oral processing and individual’s physical strength. Journal of Texture Studies. 47(5), pp. 413-422 Laguna L, Mingioni M, Maitre I, Vanwymelbeke V, Pirttijärvi T, Artigas MG, Kautola H, Järvenpää E, Mäenpää T, Tahvonen R, Grabska-Kobylecka I, Nowak D, Chen J, Sarkar A. 2016.

Perception of Difficulties Encountered in Eating Process from European Elderlies' Perspective. Journal of Texture Studies. 47(4), pp. 342-352 Mingioni M, Mehinagic E, Laguna Cruañes L, Sarkar A, Pirttijärvi T, Vanwymelbeke V, Artigas G, Chen J, Kautola H, Järvenpää E, Mäenpää T, Tahvonen R, Grabska-Kobylecka I, Maitre I. 2016.

Fruit and vegetables liking among European elderly according to food preferences, attitudes towards food and dependency. Food Quality and Preference. 50, pp. 27-37 Laguna Cruañes L, Sarkar A, Artigas G, Chen J. 2015. A quantitative assessment of the eating capability in the elderly individuals. Physiology and Behavior. 147(1), pp. 274-281 Laguna L, Sarkar A, Chen J. 2015.

Assessment of eating capability of elderly subjects in UK: a quantitative evaluation. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 74(OCE2), pp. E167-E167 Book chapter: Laguna L, Sarkar A, Chen J. 2017.

Eating capability assessment in elderly population. In: Watson RR (eds.) Nutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging. London, United Kingdom: Academic Press, pp. 83-96

Project website