Seeding Food Innovation - Awarded Project 2017

Development and standardization of textured pureed foods for the elderly population

Project Description

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is a common condition within the older adult population. Nearly half of Canadian long term care (LTC) residents are prescribed diets with modified textures, where their food will be chopped, minced, pureed or liquefied. Once pureed, the food becomes unidentifiable and its taste and smell can become distinctly different from the original meal. This change in sensory experience may lead to reduced consumption and malnutrition. Thus, there is an urgent need for strategies that can produce pureed foods that not only look like their original counterparts, but are appealing to the residents who eat them.

This project explores the use of emerging 3D printing (3DP) technologies to meet this critical need. We will define pureed food formulations that are suitable for 3D printing and are safe to consume. We will evaluate the sensory appeal of these re-shaped foods and whether they will be deemed acceptable for consumption. Finally, we will assess attitudes toward the use of 3DP technology in LTC homes, reaching out to the individuals directly responsible for preparing and serving pureed foods in these facilities to gage the feasibility of their implementation.

Ultimately, we aim to advance the use of 3DP products that could lead to improved nutrient intake, reduced malnutrition, and improved quality of life for the growing number of residents living in LTC homes.

Relevance to the field of food innovation

This project will test the feasibility of a new type of technology, 3D printing, for pureed food production within LTC homes. 3DP for textured food preparation is recent, with current applications focused on foods with limited nutritional value, personalized diets and highly automated systems. New ability to produce ready to eat pureed foods using cost competitive technologies that can be adapted to small volume production and where recipes can be prepared on site is a critical advance, and vital to the LTC community. The project will also add to our very limited understanding of the sensory qualities of 3D printed nutrient-rich foods and perceptions of 3DP use.

Anticipated outcome

Access to foods that are palatable, yet high in nutrient, possess defined textures and are easy to swallow will improve the health and quality of life of the growing population of older adults living in LTC. This research will form the basis for implementing 3D textured food printing in LTC facilities across Canada, and in assisting with the production of standardized food textures for individuals with dysphagia.


Dr. Christine Moresoli

Christine Moresoli, PhD, Ing. is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. She obtained her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. She also has a Bachelor and Master degree in Chemical Engineering obtained at » More Info

Dr. Lisa Duizer

Lisa Duizer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph. She obtained her PhD in Food Technology from Massey University in New Zealand. She also has an MSc in Food Science and a BASc in Applied Human Nutrition. Within the Department of Food Science, » More Info

Dr. Heather Keller

Heather H. Keller, PhD, RD is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and the Nutrition & Aging Research Chair, Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging. Professor Keller also co-chairs the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force, a standing committee of the Canadian Nutrition » More Info