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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal Institut Agro Carnot_Qualiment

Internet de l'unité STLO Science et Technologie du Lait et de l'Oeuf

STLO Research Unit

Cheese products formulated especially for seniors

Vignette Gabarit MR
The objective of our research was to design foods that fit the nutritional and sensory needs of senior citizens to help keep them in good health and fend off risks like sarcopenia (muscle wasting) and osteoporosis. We also had a wider goal to help them keep enjoying meals, as with advancing age, fading oral health can make adequate food intake difficult or even painful.

Four texture-contrasted cheese products of variable texture and enriched with whey protein and calcium, key nutrients for the prevention of sarcopenia and osteoporosis, have been formulated to meet the nutritional and sensory needs of the elderly. A panel of 200 over-65s ageing in place with or without oral health issues helped establish that, on the whole, all the products offered were confortable and easy to eat regardless of masticatory capacity.

An in vivo study (on porcine model) showed that digesting the whey protein-based model cheese afforded two-fold higher plasma leucine concentrations than the casein-based control cheese. An in vitro digestion study found no texture effects on amino acid and calcium bioaccessibility. Changes in calcium bioaccessibility were mainly due to intra-gastric and intra-intestinal pH rather than to chemical form of the initial matrix-enriching calcium source.


Future outlook

By modulating the blend composition and production process, we have come up with a nutritionally-adapted range of cheese products for seniors that cover all the textures they need and are all confortable to eat. This result highlights the relevance of integrating whey proteins as a major protein source in cheese products in order to maximize the supply of essential amino acids. Clinical trials could serve to identify the physiological impact of these purpose-formulated products, especially in terms of muscle protein synthesis in older adults.


This research was completed under the AlimaSSenS project (‘toward offering healthy food products better adapted to elderly people’ ANR-14-CE20-0003-01) funded by the French national research agency (5-year programme; 2014– 2019) and in collaboration with Lactalis.

INRAE–UMR Science & Technology of Milk & Eggs (STLO) in Rennes developed the cheese matrices and led the in vitro and in vivo studies.

INRAE–UMR Centre for Taste & Food Science (CSGA) in Dijon coordinated the sensory testing study.

Read more

Lorieau, L., Le Roux, L., Gaucheron, F., Ligneul, A., Hazart, E., Dupont, D., & Floury, J. (2018). Bioaccessibility of four calcium sources in different whey-based dairy matrices assessed by in vitro digestion. Food Chemistry, 245, 454–462.

Lorieau, L., Halabi, A., Ligneul, A., Hazart, E., Dupont, D., & Floury, J. (2018). Impact of the dairy product structure and protein nature on the proteolysis and amino acid bioaccessiblity during in vitro digestion. Food Hydrocolloids, 82, 399–411.

Lorieau, L., Septier, C., Laguerre, A., Le Roux, L., Hazart, E., Ligneul, A., … Labouré, H. (2018). Bolus quality and food comfortability of model cheeses for the elderly as influenced by their texture. Food Research International, 111, 31–38.

Lorieau, L., Le Gouar, Y., Henry, G., Mao, T. T., Ligneul, A., Hazart, E., … Floury, J. (2019). Whey-based cheese provides more postprandial plasma leucine than casein-based cheese: A pig study. Food Chemistry, 277, 63–69.


Juliane FLOURY, Maître de Conférences, UMR STLO INRA AGROCAMPUS OUEST,

Didier DUPONT, Directeur de Recherche, UMR STLO INRA AGROCAMPUS OUEST,

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