Micronutrient Fortification for Older Adults in Long-Term Care: Sensory Considerations
Micronutrient fortification can improve nutrient intake in older adults residing in long-term care (LTC). However, previous studies indicate that micronutrient fortification can alter food sensory attributes. This thesis investigates a potential micronutrient fortification program for older adults in LTC, with a focus on food sensory properties. A micronutrient powder containing 9 vitamins and 3 minerals was sourced from Calico Ingredients (ON, Canada). Four foods were identified as potential carriers: tomato soup, mushroom soup, mashed potatoes and oatmeal. The micronutrient powder was added to the selected foods in varying amounts to produce samples with different fortification levels. Preparation methods used in LTC were also taken into consideration during the initial screening of these foods. Napping® with ultra-flash profiling (UFP) was first used as a screening tool to identify sensory differences present in each of the four selected foods. Descriptive Analysis was then completed for two foods – tomato soup and oatmeal. Sensory differences with fortification were identified in both foods. The acceptability and perception of these foods by younger (age 18-40, n=64) and older (age 65+, n=65) adults was completed using hedonic scales and check-all-that-apply (CATA) questions. Subgroups of participants with different patterns of liking were identified using agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis (AHC). This was completed separately for each age group and for each of the two foods evaluated. In each case, three distinct consumer subgroups with different patterns of liking were identified. CATA and hedonic liking results were evaluated separately for each subgroup; differences in the way these subgroups described and rated food samples were identified. Finally, sensory acuity was evaluated in all participants to determine whether differences in taste and smell sensitivity existed between liking subgroups. Olfactory sensitivity was found to differ between older adult (OA) tomato soup subgroups. Mean olfactory score was lower for the subgroup that disliked fortified foods compared to the subgroup that experienced no change in liking. This research provides information about the sensory properties of selected fortified foods, and their acceptability to older adult consumers. The role of age and sensory acuity on liking of these foods was also evaluated.