Every May, our nation observes Older Americans Month. This comes from the Administration on Aging, a division in the Federal Government. This years theme of Older Americans Month is "Engage at Every Age" with an emphasis on "you are never too old." The Administration on Aging suggests "to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being." One of the most important parts of physical activity is a healthy diet.
For older Americans, this can be more challenging. As we age, our sense of taste and smell change. We face dental issues like missing teeth, sore gums, or poorly fitting dentures. Saliva production decreases, often making it harder to swallow, and ultimately reducing our appetites.
New Meal Creation
When GA Foods develops our menus for older Americans in area agencies, managed care organizations, and hospitals we take those issues into account. The area agency on aging, managed care organizations, and hospitals have strict guidelines for nutrition requirements that add another layer of complexity to our product development.
Product Development Team
Our product development team considers many factors as they continually develop and update our menus. They realize that not only should the food taste great, but also look great. All of us eat with our eyes first, and this pushes our team to focus on colors, variations, retherm consistency, and more to make our meals as visually appealing as they are delicious.
Taste is the next significant factor, and Chef Michael Thrash is our ace in the hole, with his almost poetic approach to cooking, he is our secret ingredient. Chef Mike develops meals that include the tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and umami. If you are not familiar with umami, it is a savory taste. Umami has a pleasurable effect on the overall satisfaction and enjoyment of a meal. As we age, our sweet and salty taste buds tend to be the most reliable. Because of this, Our meals are designed to showcase sour, bitter, and umami, which makes them much more appealing to seniors.
Before any meal is approved, it must pass our taste panel. This is where our hand-picked judges provide critical feedback and lead to our curated menus that older Americans love. The taste panel samples the food based on several factors to ensure the food is consistently tasty.
All of our meals meet or exceed the federal and state regulatory guidelines and are heart healthy and low in sodium to meet the nutritional needs of the older American population.