A new study has found that senior consumers are buying into the healthy food trend, and would like to see more options on their residence dining menus.

Carried out by US firm, Culinary Visions Panel, the ‘Senior Food and Lifestyles Study’ analysed dining expectations, attitudes and tendencies, and found that people aged 55+ are equally as interested in eating healthier as their younger counterparts.

Having asked various questions around healthy eating and the availability of healthy foods in participants’ residence, the findings revealed the top five ways seniors are interested in healthier food options:

Real Food with No Artificial Ingredients

Seniors are keen on foods with cleaner labels and less additives. 87% of participants said that eating real foods with no artificial ingredients was important to them. When asked about the availability of real foods without artificial ingredients, 65% agreed that such foods were available on their current residence’s dining menus

Less Processed Foods

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Seniors consistently highlighted their desire for fresher foods that are as unaltered as possible. 82% said they would like less processed foods in their diet. 69% agreed that less processed foods were available

Local Produce

Seniors care about the benefits of local produce. 72% said they would like their senior living communities to incorporate local produce in their dining menus. 65% agreed that their current senior living residence was offering local produce in their meals

Whole Grain

Seniors perceive that foods with whole grains provide more nutritional benefits than foods with refined grains. 76% would like whole grains to be part of their regular diet. 73% of those interviewed agreed that whole grains were available at their current residence

Healthier Fats

Today’s seniors consider foods with healthier fats provide a better diet. 80% of the participants in the study said that they would like healthier fats to be part of the foods regularly offered in their senior living dining foodservice.

67% of those interviewed also agreed that foods with healthier fats were available at their current residence

Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary Visions Panel, commented: “Today’s seniors say that fruits and vegetables are some of their favourite foods. We were heartened to see that well over half of those that we surveyed felt that healthier food choices were available to them in senior dining.”

While “traditional thinking on senior dining has usually focused on providing familiar foods,” Culinary Visions Panel said that: “modern seniors desire to eat healthier will challenge operators to introduce creative ways to satisfy both comfort-driven and healthy cravings.

“Their desire to eat healthier will also have an impact on manufacturers that make snacks and foods for this demographic.

“For consumers aged 55+ years, manufacturers should consider creating food products that emphasize on clean labels, whole grains and are less processed.”