Three issues with today's medical beverages
Manufacturers struggle to develop solutions to meet the needs of patients and the elderly.
04 April 2019
A growing need for high quality medical nutrition
The number of people aged 60+ is expected to more than double between 2017 and 2050. Malnutrition rates increase with age, reaching as high as 25% in community-dwelling elderly and up to 80% amongst elderly patients. It is known that malnutrition increases morbidity and mortality in the senior population.
With dietary intake naturally decreasing in older age through a number of factors, Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) are often necessary to deliver high-quality protein to help combat malnutrition and reach dietary requirements.
Whey protein scores highly for patients
Whey protein is an excellent source of nutrition for the elderly and patients due to the fast absorption properties and high leucine content, the essential amino acid that is found to be critical to the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis.
Although whey protein has significant potential for use in medical nutrition, the reality is that manufacturing ONS products containing whey protein is difficult, and the taste and texture often suffer as a result.
This impacts compliance rates as those who are unwell require great taste and texture in a variety of formats to encourage supplement consumption.
Three key issues surrounding medical beverage offerings
1. Low whey levels
Medical beverages typically contain casein dominant blends or non-dairy proteins to reach high protein levels, therefore patients and elderly are not consuming gold standard protein to support their recovery.
For processors, reaching whey protein levels above 6% in liquid applications is difficult due to issues with viscosity, taste, and texture in the final product.
2. Poor patient experience
Today’s medical beverages are not always enjoyed by patients due to their unfamiliar flavour and thick, viscous texture.
When patients are unwell it is important to consider avoiding taste fatigue with a variety of flavours and formats, but also providing the best quality protein available in a compact way.
3. Limited formats
Patients and elderly may struggle to reach their dietary requirements as a result of the negative effects of illness, medications or ageing.
Concentrated medical beverages are sought to meet the needs of these patients to enable them to efficiently consume essential nutrients. Compliance can be improved by providing a variety of flavours and formats to reach nutrition goals.
Time to take advantage of an opportunity
It’s clear that the market for medical nutrition beverages is growing and there is an opportunity for better tasting, whey dominant beverages to efficiently deliver the best quality protein to patients and elderly.
The reality is that manufacturing great tasting whey based ONS with a desirable texture is extremely difficult when using standard whey proteins.
This information is intended for B2B customers, suppliers and distributors, and is not intended as information for final consumers.
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