Advice for businesses from the Food Innovation Centre on catering for a growing elderly population

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

New advice has been published on Healthy Eating for the Elderly to help food and drink businesses develop products for older people.

The fact sheet is one of a series compiled by the Food Innovation Centre at the University of Nottingham, providing clear, concise and scientifically reliable information on key topics for small and medium-sized businesses.

The UK population is ageing, and it is projected that by 2050, one in four people in the UK will be aged 65 and over. By 2069 there are likely to be an additional 7.5 million people aged 65 years and over in the UK, compared with 2019 figures.

Elderly people experience a range of challenges to healthy eating due to physiological changes. This could include chewing and swallowing difficulties, dry mouth and dehydration, loss of taste and smell, loss of appetite, reduced oral processing capability, muscle loss, bone strength loss, as well as digestive capability. Health conditions, such asType-2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, muscle failure disease sarcopenia, dysphagia, and cancer, can also impact. In addition, social-related factors such as isolation, loneliness, and bereavement can also impact on dietary intake in older adults.

“All of this can affect elderly people’s ability to consume the daily required nutrients, causing them potential malnutrition (e.g.undernutrition or overnutrition), as a result, this could also further negatively affect their health conditions and/or accelerate their physiological changes,” explained research fellow Dr Wentao (Kerry) Liu, one of the team of advisors at the Food Innovation Centre, which supports food and drink businesses in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire with expert advice and guidance."

The Healthy Eating for the Elderly fact sheet provides tips and ideas for how businesses can develop products and services to cater for this market, and at the same time, help our seniors to have a healthy diet.
Dr Wentao (Kerry) Liu

The Food Innovation Centre, based at the Bioenergy and Brewing Science building at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington campus, offers free support to small and medium-sized food and drink manufacturers in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire under the Driving Research and Innovation project - a three-year project that runs until the end of December 2022. Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the D2N2 LEP, the project is run by the Food Innovation Centre at the University of Nottingham School of Biosciences, in conjunction with the Chemistry Innovation Laboratory in the School of Chemistry and Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and in association with the Midlands Engine. It is a unique collaboration project that provides free specialist innovation support to small and medium-sized businesses.

The Healthy Eating for the Elderly fact sheet is one of a series of fact sheets that we have published to help food and drink businesses innovate and become more sustainable. This might be through new product development, reformulation, the introduction of new packaging or a change in processing. We hope this latest fact sheet will provide food for thought and inspiration for SMEs, and at the same time support a healthy ageing population.
Richard Worrall, Head of the Food Innovation Centre

To download the Healthy Eating for the Elderly fact sheet, visit

For more information about the Food Innovation Centre and to get in touch with the team, visit

Story credits

More information is available from Richard Worrall, University of Nottingham on

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798