Care Food Co | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2021
Palatable and nutritious food alternatives for the aged-care market are limited. Many options are frozen, canned or require thickening agents and additives to address the swallowing difficulties consumers often demonstrate.
David McAuley of Care Food Co (formerly Cold Pressed Foods) says the company wanted to improve the daily lives of people who have difficulty swallowing and those of their family and carers tasked with providing nourishing food options.
Access to a high-pressure processing machine — which uses pressure rather than heat to pasteurise food — started the Care Food Co journey. The technology effectively locks in the nutrients, rather than cooking them out, enabling the team to develop a range of texture modified foods in a fresh chilled format with a long shelf life. The range is completely free from additives, fortifiers and thickeners, containing only 100% natural ingredients.
Market research showed that swallowing difficulties often increase as a patient progresses through illness or ages, necessitating food textural changes that range from chewable through to fully liquidised. The Care Food Co range offers food and meal options at all levels identified under the systemised testing framework for dysphagia — IDDSI — catering to differing patient needs with consistent, independently audited food choices.
According to David, the support of FIAL has been central to maintaining momentum. “FIAL have been extremely supportive. Of course, the financial backing was instrumental, but they also provided independent validation that we were on the right track. That’s really motivating from a business confidence point of view." “It’s also a proof point when it comes to potential customers and investors — if the government is investing in what you are doing, then it must be a good idea. That confidence and the credibility it generates is invaluable when you are starting out,” David said.