Leverages the growing number of health-conscious consumers – the affluent ‘worried well’ – through innovative new product development of wholesome foods supported by scientific evidence and clear nutritional guidelines but not targeting a specific health need e.g. a whole apple in single-serve juice.
Care Food Co. helps people who have difficulty swallowing enjoy delicious and nutritious food.
‘Dysphagia’ commonly affects the elderly, and can occur in people who have had a stroke and other conditions affecting the head and neck. Care Food Co. provides fresh, texture-modified and pureed food with no additives, fortifiers or thickeners of any kind. It is healthy and tasty and gives Australians the dignity of enjoying good food once again.
It provides a range of food and meal options — Main Dishes, Vegetables, Fruit and even Sweet and Savoury Biscuits. These are available at all levels identified under the systemised testing framework for dysphagia (IDDSI), catering to differing patient needs.
With almost one million Australians experiencing swallowing difficulties, many of whom have spent time in hospital, this food solution removes a layer of stress around supporting patients and their carers when they return home.
Market research revealed that palatable and nutritious food alternatives for the aged-care market were limited. Many options were frozen, canned or required thickening agents and additives to address the swallowing difficulties experienced by consumers. It also showed that swallowing difficulties often increase as patients progresses through illness or age, necessitating food textural changes that range from chewable through to fully liquidised. This informed their approach and revealed the size of the market.
With business advice and backing from FIAL, access to a high-pressure processing machine, that uses pressure rather than heat to pasteurise food, kickstarted the Care Food Co. journey. The technology 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.
This case study is from FIAL's 2022 edition of Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2022