It seems that care homes are always in the news for negative reasons, but the fact is that with such a vast number of them in operation in the UK, there is bound to be a scale of good to bad. Facts just released by Age UK for July estimate that there are currently 11.4 million people aged 65 or over in the UK and over a third of the total UK population is over 50. Indeed, the number of people aged 60 or over is forecast to pass the 20 million mark by 2030.
So care homes (and among this we must include special needs care homes, children’s homes as well as those for the elderly) are not only in demand now but in the future, they will be even more necessary. Catering in care homes is big business: older adults eat on average 4.4 servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Junk food does not feature significantly in any surveys taken of the eating habits of the elderly. Burgers and chips are poor substitutes for the time-honoured meat and two veg.
Catering is a vital part of the care home regime, with many mouths to feed and dietary standards to maintain. According to the latest YouGov Arena Food Service Report, one in five current care home users would be willing to pay more for better quality food/ingredients.
Boring Food No More!
Food does not have to be formulaic and boring as is demonstrated by Oliver Smith, who was crowned The National Association of Care Catering Care Cook of the Year 2015, with the judging panel judging on menus that “showcased real knowledge and understanding of the nutritional and dietary needs of those in a care environment, as well as innovation and flair.”
The winning menu was pork tenderloin, celeriac purée, crispy potatoes and apple followed by chocolate mousse with beetroot. Neel Radia, National Chair, NACC, commented:“Catering for care environments requires specific skills, knowledge and commitment to ensure that the dietary and nutritional needs of the elderly and vulnerable are met. Important factors such as nutrition, budget restrictions, specific dietary requirements and needs, such as dementia, dysphagia and fortification, menu planning and regulations must be understood. “
However, how you cook is equally important as what you cook, especially when it comes to large scale catering, so AC Services (Southern) always recommends the Rational oven range when dealing with care homes.
“With so many residents with different tastes and dietary requirements, cooking on an appliance which is only able to handle one meal type at a time leads to cold food, delays in serving and disgruntled residents,” comments Helen Hagger, MD of AC Services. “In addition, there is the social element to eating, especially for the older population who are used to eating as a social event, rather than snacking or eating on the move. An oven such as the Rational SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses, which is the only intelligent combi steamer in the market, provides the user with practically unlimited possibilities.”
Whether steaming, blanching, grilling, braising, baking, or roasting, the Rational SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses combi steamer enables all cooking methods which can be used individually, successively, or combined in just one appliance, saving time and money which effectively, is what the UK care home market is looking for! Or at least that’s what the care home clients for whom we service and maintain their Rational ovens tell us.