Ålder är inte en sjukdom - diskussioner från INCluSilvers innovationsgille

Inför ansökningsomgångar i INCluSilver anordnar vi innovationsgillen. Syftet är att hjälpa entreprenörer att hitta rätt fokus och att bygga broar mellan olika aktörer. Den 17 januari 2019 anordnade vi det sista gillet inom INCluSilver. Här får du en sammanfattning av resultatet på engelska.

INCluSilvers’ Innovation Meeting Take-outs

The Innovation Guilds is a strategy for finding innovative solutions by bringing experts with different background into one meeting and letting them discuss the issue in a systematic way. We have been using the strategy here at Livsmedelsakademin for some time and have had some great projects that started as an Innovation Guild Meeting.

This third Innovation Guild Meeting had the headline How food industry could take the silver food train?”. We were adressing the following challenges connected to the elderly nutrition: “Diet and Food Production; Logistics, Design and Packaging.”  

The topic tackled the question of the lack of knowledge and focused in the food industry on the needs connected to the elderly nutrition.

The focal point were food producers, food R&D companies, food delivery services and other actors.

Solutions generated in the meeting

Make the elderly feel empowered – change the perspective of what elderly NEED to what they WANT, in food production and R&D but most importantly, in marketing.

Elderly consumers are still consumers, not patients, so we should not treat them as sick and power-less. They want to have a CHOICE and feel empowered. With everyone talking about the special needs of the elderly and how the elderly’s diet needs to change with age, we were questioning whether that is the right approach. Of course, your diet should go hand in hand with your health status, but you are still YOU – in most cases, you haven’t changed your taste preferences, so why should you all of a sudden drink some awful formulas for seniors which even points out how old you are and how different you are from the younger generation. We should develop products which taste as good as they are rich on the nutrients the elderly need.

That leads to another important point – companies need to work with the agers in order to understand how this group wishes to be addressed. The fact you are over a certain age doesn’t make you less human, on the contrary – you are full of knowledge and experiences and you might be 75, but what matters is, how old, or young do YOU feel to be? If you feel like 24, why should someone remind you your real age and stop you from doing things you love? In terms of marketing, there needs to be a shift from anti-ageing to pro-ageing – it is a new exciting era of your life. Also, more ambassadors representing this group should be seen in commercial campaigns, such as Helen Mirren for L’Oréal. Grassroots solutions would be another example of a very efficient strategy in this case.

Moreover, different activities which connect people with similar interests could be created – e.g. growing their own food, preparing the food together in communities etc.

Reaching out to the elderly group using innovative ways

There is a disconnection between the actors involved in food production and the elderly. That is because of the historic rising power of the supermarkets where they were the driving force, not the consumers. Since it is hard for this group to obtain food products through different channels, it is also hard to reach out to them. How can that be solved?

Development of services such as Groupon with deals from different food places – since money can be a real issue when you stop working and enter the next phase of your life, special food deals for the agers could be a great solution, not only taking care of their nutrition, but maybe even more importantly to bring as many people together (through platforms, events etc.) which makes it easier to reach them with products and services tailored to their wants & needs when needed.

Involve the distributors and government more so we can have all the stakeholders engaged

As soon as the marketing approach changes, the area becomes way more attractive for all the stakeholders. At the moment, the distributors are not interested and there are not many efficient governmental campaigns promoting this group (in an attractive way as mentioned above). It is also in the governmental interest to keep as many agers as possible out of the health-care system which would save huge amounts of money.

The discussion of these solutions will continue on the INCluSilver Ideanote platform and you are more than welcome to join! Click to join the discussion: https://inclusilver.ideanote.io/login/link/d1dce9498a31

The outcome of the meeting will be also promoted in the INCluSilver project to find SMEs that are bringing solutions for this area and are in a need of funding. If you are one of them, do not hesitate to take a look at www.inclusilver.eu or contact zuzana.hruba@livsmedelsakademin.se.