Press release Appropriate and tasty food in health care and hospitals? NuHCaS works together with food companies and care
As a result of a VTM broadcast 'Ze zeggen dat' about hospital food, a number of food scientists draw attention to interesting trajectories within a Flemish mixed network NuHCas.
NuHCaS (Nutrition Health Care System) includes partners from the food, health and care sectors. "With scientific research and cooperation between healthcare institutions and food companies, tasty and quality meals for the healthcare sector are certainly possible, which have a positive impact on the quality of life of patients." Through NuHCaS, these forces have been joined for some time. The network gives a boost to applied research on topics such as malnutrition due to body restrictions, and patient-adapted and attractive nutrition. The implementation of research results is also accelerated.
Tasty food despite restrictions such as low salt content
The preparation of food for those in need of care is often tailored to the clinical picture (e.g. low-salt diet for kidney dialysis patients). In this case, a standard meal is adapted to the patient's need for care. The latter is of course very important but often taste then disappears into the background. We are convinced that it is possible to serve patients tasty and adapted meals if healthcare institutions and food companies work together and receive support from scientific research. This is already being addressed in various projects initiated by the NuHCaS partnership. One such project is FoodCare, supported by VLAIO, in which we optimize daily meals that are adapted to the needs of the person in need of care and in which taste is central.
Towards a personalized nutrition
More and more consumers are very conscious of their personal nutritional needs. It is therefore a challenge not only for healthcare institutions but also for all other meal providers to deliver meals that meet the needs of consumers. Another concrete example is the European PROOF project in which adapted food products are being developed for people with muscle weakness or a chronic lung condition. The first tests with the prototypes are already promising and it is expected that these products will become available during 2022.
Research infrastructure: a new experimental kitchen
Finally, in order to conduct research that is representative of practice today and tomorrow, a pilot infrastructure is crucial. That is why, with the support of the ERDF, we are investing in a new trial kitchen in which the processes of a large-scale kitchen (such as those in a hospital or a residential care home) can be examined on a pilot scale. Recipes will be tested and made feasible for commercial kitchens in, for example, the care sector. In concrete terms, the meals of tomorrow will be realized today in this kitchen by a motivated team of researchers and chefs. The opening of this pilot kitchen will take place on 16 November 2021 in Roeselare.
People are saying now that hospital food makes you sicker? Tomorrow people will say that hospital food supports the recovery process.
Contact and a call to action
NuHCaS, with Flanders' FOOD, ILVO, POM West-Vlaanderen, TUA West and VIVES as founding members, has the ambition to grow into a Flemish and European center of expertise on this topic.
Would you like to participate in this or do you have a specific question regarding this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or ask for email@example.com
Together for strong growth through innovation and internationalization
Flanders' FOOD is the spearhead cluster for the agro-food industry and is supported by the Agency for Innovation and Enterprise (VLAIO). Through this cluster we want to facilitate cooperation between companies, knowledge institutions and authorities.
Discover the other clusters at www.vlaio.be/clusters. #sterkgroeien