Molecular gastronomy from haute cuisine to aged care: developed with and for people affected by dysphagia


The client and/or collaborators

Barossa Village Inc., a South Australian specialist in independent retirement living, home support services and residential care


The context

People with swallowing difficulties, called dysphagia, can only eat pureed food. Imagine you need to eat baby purees for the rest of your life! It is clear that results in a loss of sensory experiences, eating enjoyment and a reduced appetite. This ultimately leads to undernutrition and a lower quality of life. However, new cooking techniques that are often used in posh restaurants, called molecular gastronomy or multisensory cooking, may offer radical improvement for these people.


The question

How can we develop molecular gastronomy texture modified foods “with a bite”, which are sensory appealing, safe to swallow and which increase food intake by people with dysphagia?


The approach

A consumer-oriented product development trajectory with design thinking principles. We involved residents, family, staff, and expert stakeholders in the process, which included observations, qualitative interviews, co-creation and stakeholder workshops, and a plate waste study measuring actual food consumption.

The outcome

A game changer in texture modified foods. The inclusive trajectory ensured that foods were developed that address urgent needs and a gap in the current offer: snacks for in-between meals. Multi-sensory foods and recipes were developed which included savoury options and were well accepted by residents with swallowing issues. Our research showed that these foods increased protein and energy intake at morning and afternoon tea, and restored lost food experiences. Barossa Village is currently up scaling and developing tools for a wider application.