Written by: Dr. Karen Abbey (CR Foodservice Ambassador)
Foodservice is by no means an easy operation. Understanding how it functions and getting the most out of all operations is crucial for foodservices to function well. Aged care homes rely upon the foodservice industry to come up with food products and ingredients which will assist with the building of menus. It also requires that staff are trained and educated in menu planning in order to build menus that are not only enjoyed by residents but can also meet their nutritional and social needs.
The process of menu planning is not as easy as it seems. Menu planning involves striking the right balance between foods and ingredients, menu cycle length, foods combination, presentation and portion control. It also requires a certain level of nutrition knowledge and knowing how foods contribute to this. On top of this, menu planners need to understand the food preferences of residents to ensure they enjoy the food. But one of the biggest challenges is to design a menu which meets the needs of the individual while catering for a group of residents who’s needs are diverse, complex and at times requiring texture modification.
The foodservice industry has a responsibility to provide foodservices in aged care homes with not only information regarding its products and how these products can be utilised in planning better menus, but to also ensure that they are supporting homes through education.
When it comes to the food manufacturing companies their goal is to sell their product to aged care homes and get their product onto menus. But what is more important is to educate staff as to what the product does. How does the foodservice industry do this? In my experience, the foodservice representatives personally call to provide new product information. Other means are through emailing product information, electronic food journals, food trade shows or publications like this one produced by Church Resources. It is then up to the catering manager to communicate the information to their foodservice staff.
We now live in a fast pace world where food development is ever-changing and food manufacturers are looking for novel solutions to ensure market share. Diets have become more complex, there is a need for texture modified food strategies, and the increase in dementia care and food intolerance has made supplying menu solutions to aged care homes even more important.
All staff should have a basic knowledge of nutrition and an overview of special dietary requirements needed by residents in aged care.
Understand how to menu plan as well as how to integrate diets and texture modifications.
Keep up to date with new product information to enhance menu planning
Aged care is a complex environment and it is not easy to get thousands of meals correct every single day. Some of our residents are very frail and rely upon the menu as their sole source of nutrition. We owe it to them to make sure the menu is full of tasty and nutritious foods and meals. The foodservice industry plays a very important role in both manufacturing and education to support homes in the menu development process.
Dr. Karen Abbey will be running a FREE nutrition webinar course for CR Members starting November. The course will start November 7th and the first module will be repeated December 5th. The course continues into 2018 as part of our commitment to provide our Members with the very best in foodservice and nutrition. For the full course schedule and to sign up click the button below:
Church Resources Excellence in Foodservice Community Program provides procurement solutions and has access to a wide range of manufacturing partners and their resources. To become part of this program and to subscribe to CR Foodservices newsletter click below:
To find out more about Dr Karen Abbey click here.
To find out more about Dr. Karen Abbey click here
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