As the baby boomer generation ages and enters their twilight years, the demand for quality aged care is booming. And with that demand comes expectation for quality in all aspects of care – including food.

Forget about overcooked veggies, runny gravy and cheap meat offcuts – modern retirement homes and aged care retreats are beginning to diversify their food offerings to provide mouthwatering meals and stand out amongst their competition. Here’s what the aged care homes driven to achieve excellence in food service are doing:

Aged Care Food Trend #1: They forget about what’s popular

Retirement and aged care food trends are different to mainstream popular culture – forget about Instagram worthy ‘freakshakes’ and faddish overstuffed burgers. Instead, they focus on the classics and do them well.

Aged Care Food Trend #2: They do comfort foods well

Successful aged care facilities know their clients – just like the rest of us – gain comfort from a hearty, well cooked meal. Comfort foods like stews, soups, casseroles and roasts are on heavy rotation because they make the clients feel good! Getting those basic comfort foods right is essential.

Aged Care Food Trend #3: They reduce frozen foods

Whilst frozen foods are economical, reducing wastage and spoilage, they often lack the taste and texture of fresh produce. Modern aged care facilities embrace fresh foods for the extra flavour and texture. By integrating sensible stock management and ordering processes, wastage and extra cost can still be minimised.

Aged Care Food Trend #4: They embrace simplicity

By using fresh, quality ingredients, a great meal doesn’t have to be complicated. A well-cooked cut of meat, or a traditional soup using seasonal, flavourful produce doesn’t need Masterchef-style presentation and garnishes. The taste trumps style every time, and facilities that embrace this approach are rewarded with happy clients.

Aged Care Food Trend #5: They value quality over quantity

There’s no need for pub style food with a chicken parmigiana that’s bigger than the plate it’s served on. A simple smaller portion of fish, beef or chicken, accompanied by elegant side dishes is more than adequate. Successful aged care facilities know not to cross the line into stinginess – no one likes a meal that is more plate than food! But great quality, flavourful food doesn’t need to be piled high on the plate – it’s appealing as well as economical.

Whilst we acknowledge not all facilities have adopted these food trends, there has been a significant shift in the past 2 years. The need to meet residents demands will become more of a focus in the near future. Aged Care Providers that prepare for the next generation entering age care now will be those that prosper.

What are some of your favourite comfort foods your nursing home cooks for residents?

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