In January, Fazer asked the relatives of senior citizens about food-related considerations for elderly people. In developing food services, they found not only on the taste of food, but also a leisurely and relaxed dining atmosphere, traditional home cooking, respectful treatment of the elderly, and ensuring that they eat enough and well to be important factors. One third of respondents felt that they had too little information about how their loved ones eat in elderly care. According to the study, private catering services are considered to be of better quality than municipal services.

The aim of the study was to gain a better understanding of the views, expectations and wishes of the close relatives of the elderly and the disabled groups about food service in nursing homes, and the catering services delivered to people living at home. The survey was commissioned by Fazer, and 1,000 relatives of seniors responded to it.


Food nourishes only when eaten

Mealtimes are highly valued: 89% of respondents consider mealtimes as the most important, important, or significant part of the day. For the elderly, the quality of food and dining was emphasised, as well as human factors such as respectful treatment and the possibilities for the elderly themselves to have a say in meal-related matters. The concern of relatives for how seniors eat increases as the condition or health of the elderly person decreases.

The families of those who are provided meal services by private catering services were clearly more satisfied than those who get municipal services in all assessed areas, and private catering services are also considered to be of better quality than municipal services.

Of the factors (excluding price) that affect choice of food service, 72% of respondents chose tastiness as the most important factor, 43% chose compliance with nutrition recommendations, and 25% that the elderly person ate at all.

“This study shows that eating is always far more than simply nutrition. Only food that is eaten provides nourishment, and this is true for elderly citizens also. Our mission is Food with a purpose, and in this context this refers to understanding the deeper meaning of food for human well-being. Nutrition recommendations provide a solid foundation, but the emotional factors and the taste of the food itself are key,” says Fazer Food Services Finland’s Commercial Director Hannu Rahnasto.


Relaxed and respectful interactions with the elderly

In the development of food services not only the taste of food, but also a leisurely and relaxed dining atmosphere, traditional home cooking and service, respectful treatment of the elderly, and ensuring that they eat enough and well were considered important.  More than half of the respondents (58%) also wish to see other commercial services to support elderly people who live at home. These respondents feel these services should emphasise various opportunities for social interaction. The most frequently mentioned services were related to hobbies, and these services would be provided alongside everyday basic services.

“We want to support active senior citizens, and food plays an important role for people of all ages. At the moment, we are using the Fazer Brainhow programme to implement science-based understanding of the effects on well-being of food and sleep, as well as mental and physical activity. Our goal with the programme is to develop innovative solutions that will maintain and improve brain capacity and activity at every age,” says Hannu Rahnasto.


More and more seniors living at home

About one third (28%) of respondents felt they were getting too little information about how the elderly eat in the nursing homes. Similarly, one third of respondents (32%) do not know the provider of the food services for their elderly relative. Families also feel that seniors’ opinions are not taken into account in the development of food services.


By 2030, the estimated number of people in Finland over the age of 75 is about 820,000. Fazer’s customers in the senior sector are municipalities and private companies. Fazer delivers tailor-made tasty and healthy homemade meals to the elderly under the Seniori Ateria brand.

“Our customers are responsible for meal services for senior citizens living in nursing homes, but in the future will also be responsible for providing more meals to seniors living at home. In the future, increasingly many members of the Finnish senior population will be living at home for longer, and we want to provide quality and tasty homemade food to support their well-being, at the same time taking their individual needs into account,” Hannu Rahnasto explains. 

Fazer commissioned a survey of the opinions, expectations and wishes of relatives of elderly people relating to food services. The survey was carried out using a consumer network panel. There were 1,000 respondents, and they formed a statistically representative sample of the overall Finnish population. The senior relatives of the respondents to the questionnaire are either already provided with meals in service homes provided by Fazer, or are likely to be so within the next two years. The survey was conducted by Innolink in January 2018 for Fazer Food Services. 

Further information

Hannu Rahnasto, Commercial Director, Fazer Food Services Finland, tel. +358 40 711 3538

The Fazer media phone line is open Mon–Fri from 8 am to 4 pm, tel. +358 40 668 2998
Pekka Vuorela, Managing Director, Innolink, tel. +358 50 571 8804

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