The decline of muscle mass/strength is a key component of healthy ageing and can have a major impact on quality of life. Increasing protein intake at all stages of the life course may help to reduce the rate of muscle decline and the onset of associated health conditions. However, there is a lack of understanding of the social, demographic and psychological drivers of food choices surrounding protein intake.
Protein for life is a collaborative project led by Newcastle University with academic collaborators from The Universities of Bristol, Sheffield, Liverpool and Aberdeen. This project is also supported by seven industry stakeholder partners. The multidisciplinary team of researchers will assess the factors related to protein intake of three different life stages: mid-life (40-54 years), younger old (55-69 years), and older old (70 + years).
A number of approaches will be used to develop and disseminate guidelines to the food industry for the formulation of palatable higher-protein foods. This information will then be used to provide the food industry with a set of 'design rules' for new products. Working with our industry partners, we will then develop and trial some exemplar products based on the design rules. The products will then be tested for palatability and acceptability in groups of mid-life and older adults and then refined accordingly. Importantly, we will ensure that the findings of the study are then disseminated to key stakeholders including the public, policy makers and the food industry. We hope that this research will also provide a more general roadmap to inform future product development.
Protein for life is funded by the Research Councils UK's ‘Priming Food Partnerships’ initiative which is supported by four councils: BBSRC, MRC, EPSRC and ESRC. For further information on the Priming Food Partnerships, go to the BBSRC website.