Applying mealtime functionality to tailor protein-enriched meals to older consumer segments

Louise C. den Uijl*, Gerry Jager, Elizabeth H. Zandstra, Kees de Graaf, Stefanie Kremer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The older adults group is highly heterogeneous, and its members do not always meet their recommended protein intake. We explored mealtime functionality as a basis for tailoring protein-enriched (PE) meal concepts to two senior consumer segments: 1) cosy socialisers, who eat mainly for cosiness and social interaction, and 2) physical nutritioners, who eat mainly for nutrients and physical needs. We hypothesised an increased ‘product–cluster fit’ when the functional meal associations are congruent to the clusters’ functional mealtime expectations. In a home-use test, participants (N = 91, mean age 68.1 (y) ± 5.3 (SD), 42 cosy socialisers) prepared and consumed three kale mash meal concepts once over three weeks: (1) a basic meal concept (without PE/tailoring), (2) a cosy meal concept (PE/tailored to mealtime expectations of cosy socialisers), and (3) a physical meal concept (PE/tailored to mealtime expectations of physical nutritioners). The participants reported their expectations and experiences with the recipes and dishes (e.g. expected liking; attractiveness recipe; actual liking; taste; smell; satisfaction). The results showed that the cosy meal concept was experienced as ‘traditional’ (p < 0.05), whereas the physical meal concept was perceived as ‘healthy’ (p < 0.05), ‘trendy’ (p < 0.05), and ‘energising’ (p < 0.09). Nonetheless, the cluster*meal concept effect did not reach statistical significance for any of the outcome variables, indicating a similar actual experience of the congruent and incongruent meal concepts. This study highlights for the first time both the potency and challenges of tailoring PE dishes to specific older consumers and underlines that an increased ‘product–cluster fit’ is not straightforwardly achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-37
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Issue numberpart A
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Congruency
  • Mealtime functionality
  • Product tailoring
  • Protein-enriched meals
  • Satisfaction
  • Senior consumer clusters


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