Hormel Health Labs, a company that specializes in nutritional food products that cater to health needs, is launching a new product coined ‘Thick & Easy Coffee Sticks’ for people who suffer from dysphagia.
For those who aren’t familiar, dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing and is more prevalent in elderly patients. According to the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, dysphagia affects up to 15 million adults in the US with one in twenty-five people experiencing some form of it in their lifetime.
The nutrition line is a subdivision of Hormel Foods Corporation and its coffee sticks will be the latest addition to their hot drink mixes which are apart of its 250 food and beverage items targeted towards those who experience difficulty swallowing.
“Grabbing a cup of coffee with friends or enjoying it as you start your day is a ritual that people take for granted,” said Tim Garry, Director of Marketing for Hormel Health Labs. “There are many disruptions to the lives of those challenged by dysphagia. The taste of a good cup of coffee should not be one of them. These new and improved Thick & Easy Coffee Sticks bring those with difficulty swallowing the comfort, togetherness, and stability that a cup of coffee represents.”
According to the United Nations, the sixty and over population is the fastest aging demographic out of all age groups across the globe. This also indicates that the number of people suffering from dysphagia and other health conditions will also grow in the years to come, and with it the demand for food products that cater to specialized health conditions.
In light of this need for ingredient innovation, the Hormel Health coffee sticks introduce an improved swallowing agent in their product known as xanthan gum.
This type of hydrocolloid is touted as an ingredient with a lot of potential for the industry and is a better alternative then starch because it doesn’t clump when added to food mixtures or lose its jellification overtime, helping the product keep its composure throughout its shelf life.
The beverage line is caffeine free to help individuals avoid dehydration and will be distributed for the customer’s convenience through pre-measured packaging.
The coffee sticks can be added to a hot or cold cup of water until it dissolves to the desired thickness. Hormel Health claims their coffee sticks come in level 3 consistency for moderately thick and a level 2 consistency for mildly thick under the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative.
The global elderly nutrition market was valued at $14,453.5 million in 2017 and is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6 percent between 2018-2026, while also predicting a geriatric population of 2.1 billion by 2050, according to research by Coherent Market Insights.
These statistics have already fueled innovation in the food sciences to experiment with ingredients that enhance the nutrition profile of puréed food items.
Lithuanian researchers at the Kaunas University of Technology and the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences developed a micronutrient-rich food product for elderly people with swallowing deficiencies to help with a lack of products on the market.