Catering for our ageing population

With the baby boomer generation approaching retirement age, now more than ever manufacturers are turning their attention to Australia’s ageing population. It is estimated that by 2060, 58% of the Australian population will be in their 50’s or older with people aged over 65 accounting for one quarter of the population.*

In answer to this, Fine Food Australia will be hosting a series of seminars targeting aged care, focusing on individual diets and allergens, food presentation, the dining experience, and managing tight budgets. Not to be missed if you’re a manufacturer servicing this sector, looking to break into the aged care market, or wanting to brush up on your knowledge in this increasing service area.

In 1995, 90% of older people had experienced a recent illness, and virtually all (99%) reported at least one long-term condition. About 25% of older women and 16% of older men had a disability associated with profound or severe restriction in mobility, communication or self-care, causing difficulties with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, and so forth.**

Allergies and food intolerances in the hospital and aged care sector are common, from gluten to nuts to wheat to eggs; food allergies are on the rise. So much so in fact that hospital admissions for severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have doubled over the last decade in Australia. Reasons for this rise in food allergy occurrence is not clear, however there are many hypothesis including less exposure to infections in early childhood and methods of food processing such as roasted versus bolded nuts.

So what does this actually mean for the food industry? When you consider that the rise in incidences translates to approximately every 2 in 100 adults being affected by food allergies, it means that almost every aspect of food service is touched. From how food is manufactured and processed through to how it’s marketed, each aspect of getting food from paddock to plate, or shelf, is impacted. Peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, seeds and eggs are the most common food allergens in older children and adults, and as a result, many new products are being manufactured with variants excluding these ingredients.

Two examples of food perfect for those in the hospital and aged care sector being showcased at this year’s Fine Food Australia include Eco Farms Absolute Organic Coconut Yoghurt and Oskri’s 100% Fruit Bars Eco Farms Absolute Organic Coconut Yoghurt has numerous benefits for those in the health or aged care space including the fact that it’s vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free. Not only is it a great option for those with eating restrictions, it comes in four great flavours – Natural, Chia Seeds, Raspberries and Maple Syrup.

Oskri’s 100% Fruit Bars are not only a healthy alternative for those in health or aged care; they are gluten-free – making them perfect for coeliacs or those with gluten intolerance. They are a ‘no added’ product having no added sugar, additives or preservatives, giving customers the option of eating cleaner.

Fine Food Australia, the country’s much loved food event, has become a must-attend event for the food industry. Fine Food Australia connects buyers and sellers within the retail, foodservice and hospitality sectors and is the largest food trade show in Australia.

*Derived from: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/by-2060-australias-population-likely-to-reach-42-million-says-productivity-commission-paper-20131121-2xyll.html

**Derived from: http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/population-groups/older-people/reviews/our-review