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Research: Insight into medical nutrition challenges
Guest contributor

Guest contributor

30 May 2024

Research: Insight into medical nutrition challenges

Arla Foods Ingredients has conducted a new study providing insights into the reasons patients commonly struggle to complete medical nutrition plans.

The company analysed data from 12,000 patients with serious illnesses, spanning 12 different countries. Of those surveyed, seven in ten were recommended medical nutrition plans, but three in ten did not manage to complete them. Arla found that the most common barriers to successful completion were price, difficulties with ingesting or digesting products, and bodily intolerance. To provide further understanding, Arla commissioned new qualitative research focusing on the experiences of 40 people with cancer, sarcopenia or gut-related illnesses, each of whom were following – or had previously followed – a medical nutrition plan. Taste and texture of products was a key barrier explored, an aspect of the medical nutrition experience Arla found commonly plays a role in daily non-compliance. Initial reactions to the taste of products were often negative, but typically became more positive over time. Texture challenges appeared harder to overcome – many participants reported an unpleasant consistency found in medical beverages, often experiencing a ‘nauseating’ thick texture that can cause gagging. Helle Nyby Klinge, sales development manager at Arla Foods Ingredients, commented: “With this research, we wanted to look at the big picture, but also to listen to the voices of individual patients. It’s clear that they are doing their best to comply, but face a range of challenges – not just the price of products, but also basic issues like taste and texture.” She added that these issues can often be overcome by medical nutrition manufacturers to improve patients’ experiences and help increase their chances of faster recovery. Arla will report its full findings during its upcoming medical nutrition webinar on 6 June.

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