Hospital catering systems and their impact on the sensorial profile of foods provided to older patients in the UK
Mavrommatis, I., Moynihan, P. J., Gosney, M. A. and Methven, L. (2011) Hospital catering systems and their impact on the sensorial profile of foods provided to older patients in the UK. Appetite, 57 (1). pp. 14-20. ISSN 0195-6663
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.03.010
Impaired sensorial perception is very common in older people and low sensorial quality of foods is associated with decreased appetite and dietary intake. Hospital undernutrition in older patients could be linked to sensorial quality of hospital food if the quality were low or inappropriate for older people. The aim of this study was to examine changes in the sensorial quality of different foods that occur as a result of the food journey (i.e. freezing, regeneration, etc.) in the most common hospital catering systems in the UK. A trained sensory panel assessed sensorial descriptors of certain foods with and without the hospital food journey as it occurs in the in-house and cook/freeze systems. The results showed effects of the food journey on a small number of sensorial descriptors related to flavour, appearance and mouthfeel. The majority of these effects were due to temperature changes, which caused accumulation of condensation. A daily variation in sensorial descriptors was also detected and in some cases it was greater than the effect of the food journey. This study has shown that changes occur in the sensory quality of meals due to hospital food journeys, however these changes were small and are not expected to substantially contribute to acceptability or have a major role in hospital malnutrition.
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