Hallihan told FoodNavigator that one of the problems working with ageing consumers was that their flavour perceptions were not as good as younger groups.
As a consequence, and in view of their preference for stronger, more traditional tastes, flavours such as strawberry, orange and vanillas were among those being explored by Carbery for the elderly. “They tend to like fruity, vanilla flavours, products like honey, strawberries and more traditional fruits.”
Carbery was focusing on its business to business sales for growth while it explored healthy ageing as a major focus, using whey protein to help fight age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia) said Hallihan. “We have capacity to design flavours. This is key to this new area [healthy ageing] being successful.”
Functional dairy products
Foods such as functional dairy products and biscuits offered a lot of potential on the healthy ageing front, she said. “Because of the increase in functional foods in the dairy sector we have opened the ground for foods that contain biofunctional ingredients. We would see this as a focus of our products for the elderly. Other areas include biscuits and confectionery products or healthy breakfasts with oats or porridge.”
All of these products could easily be fortified with whey protein, a major market for Carbery, said Hallihane.
Noel Corcoran, director of sales and marketing for Carbery, said: “At the macro level because life expectancy is increasing, better health care is going to cause long term issues for health care costs. The focus will be to ensure quality of life will improve. If it doesn’t healthcare costs will rise.”
Major food processors across Europe were showing an interest in developing products targeting ageing consumers. Carbery’s work would help address such issues, he said.