Alessandra C.Grasso, YungHung, Margreet R.Olthof, Ingeborg A.Brouwer, WimVerbeke

Food Quality and Preference, 2021, 104242, ISSN 0950-3293


Eating adequate amounts of protein is important for the maintenance of health, independence, and quality of life especially for older adults. While meat is an important source of protein, it holds the most weight in the environmental impact of EU diets. This study aimed to gain a deeper understanding of meat consumption behavior among older adults by identifying and comparing different groups of older adults with differing patterns of meat consumption and liking.

A survey was conducted among 2,500 community-dwelling older adults aged 65+ years in Finland, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Three groups of older consumers were identified: heavy meat consumers, medium meat consumers, and light meat consumers. The groups differed significantly in several socio-demographics and background characteristics, appetite, protein intake, attitudes towards meat and plant-based ‘meat’ substitutes, and liking of protein sources other than meat. Health and sustainability food choice motives were important determinants for being classified as a medium or light meat consumer compared to a heavy meat consumer whereas food fussiness, sensory appeal, and familiarity were important determinants for being classified as a heavy meat consumer compared to a light meat consumer. Opportunities and barriers to meeting the high protein needs in an environmentally sustainable way and implications for designing dietary strategies to address the unique health and sustainability challenges among older adults in the EU are discussed.

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