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Sweden to test 3D-printed food in elderly care homes

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Sweden to test 3D-printed food in elderly care homes
The innovation could help people with eating difficulties get the required nutrients more easily. File photo: Pontus Lundahl / TT
07:55 CET+01:00
A new project creating 3D-printed food for elderly care home residents aims to improve residents' nutrition and overall health by making puréed meals look like the real thing.

Puréed food is a necessity for many older people who have difficulties chewing and swallowing, but it can often look unappetizing. Because of these, people with these medical conditions often end up not eating enough food.

"It's a really big problem that people who get consistency-adapted food eat too little," says Evelina Höglund at the research institute Rise, which is behind the project.

Around eight percent of all adults have difficulties chewing or swallowing, and this may be combined with a lack of appetite which can lead to malnourishment.

READ ALSO: How Stockholm's population will change over the next decade

The new technique of 3D-printed meals will be tested at two elderly care homes in Halmstad and Helsingborg in southern Sweden, as well as at a company that provides food for hospitals.

"The idea is to create, for example, a piece of broccoli, a chicken leg, or a Danish pastry so that it looks as identical [to the normal food] as possible. But the consistency will be like a loose pannacotta," Richard Asplund from the food production company told the local Hallandsposten.

Another part of the project will be developing recipes adapted to individuals, taking into account dietary requirements or food preferences.

3D-printing is already used in the food and cooking industry, for example when creating shaped decorations for baked goods.

READ ALSO: Could robots soon care for Sweden's elderly?

 
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