The Project

Coordinated by INRA, the OPTIFEL project aims to define and propose vegetable and fruit-based foods that will improve the nutrition and eating pleasure of elderly populations.

3years

Research and innovation (2013 -2017)

3M

from the European Union under the FP7 programme for research and development

26partners

European partners

Part of population aged 65 or older in the EU-27 are set to rise from 17% in 2010 to 30% in 2060. One in eight people will be aged 80 or older in 2060. (Source: Eurostat).

Nutrition plays an important role in the life of senior citizens: the act of eating remains a moment of enjoyment that contributes to general wellness, may contribute to the social bond and must also meet specific nutritional needs of this age group.

Developing innovative food and services tailored to elderly populations is a new challenge for key players involved in food industry and catering!

Coordinated by the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), the European OPTIFEL project “Optimised Food Products for Elderly Populations” aims to develop innovative products based on vegetables and fruits for elderly populations to increase length of independence.

The population targeted by the project is elderly 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. 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. In addition, emerging literature has associated higher intake of vegetables and fruits to improved health outcomes, including disability and chronic diseases. Other factors such as food safety, adapted packaging and environmental costs assessment will be investigated.

The project will be carried out in six phases:

–    Identification of user specifications.
–    Definition of functional specifications.
–    Development of appropriate processes, packaging systems and logistical systems.
–    Impact study of storage and preparation on product properties.
–    Determination of the acceptance of products in situ (at home or retirement home).
–    Dissemination and transfer of the technology.

The workpackages

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