Founded in 2017, Silverconnect specialises in developing pureed food products for individuals suffering from dysphagia – a condition which makes it difficult for to swallow food.
The target audience include seniors who are usually over the age of 65, stroke and cancer patients, as well as those with difficulties chewing and swallowing food.
Trademarked as Gentle Foods, its current range of products include ready-to-eat bento sets, pureed fish, vegetable, chicken, pre-thickened drinks, snacks and desserts, and oral care mouth spray.
The products are either sold B2B to rehabilitation centres, nursing homes, hospitals or B2C on the company’s website.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, founder Dr Shen Yiru said customers have been requesting for more pureed breakfast, snacks, fruits, and beverages.
“We are looking at these options very carefully. This is a specialised segmented market and making nutritious foods high in protein and dietary fibre is another important consideration as well,” Dr Shen said.
By this month, the company is expected to make its first launch of the year – a pureed pineapple tart for the upcoming Chinese New Year festival. The product will be sold B2C via its website and is also available for sale to the B2B partners.
According to Dr Shen, the product is made from fresh pineapple and fibre which could cause choking has been removed. The pureed tart simply melts when consumed.
“This is the first time that we are making a product for the Chinese New Year. We have finished the production and are doing the photo shoots, and the product will be ready for purchase within this month.
"We are also looking at more seasonal product launches this year,” she said.
The company already has some pureed traditional snacks and dimsum, including Ang Ku Kueh, Chwee Kueh, and Chee Cheong Fan, in its portfolio.
Other new products that it is planning to develop this year include pureed tropical fruits and siew mai. All its products are halal certified.
As part of expanding its retail channel, the company hopes to work with selected supermarkets and elder care centres in selling its products.
Texture, consistency, nutrient, taste
When developing pureed foods, texture, consistency, nutrition content, and taste are the four most important considerations, Dr Shen pointed out.
In terms of nutrition content, protein, dietary fibre, calories, sodium content will need to be considered.
“Because the dysphagic patients are usually malnourished, a high protein and dietary fibre content is important. We also need to make sure that the products are not high in sodium, contain good number of calories to provide them with energy,” she said.
She added that the team, consisting of dietitian, speech therapist, and food technologists, is also working on products suitable for diabetic patients.
As part of the standard procedure, the foods will need to be blended and moulded into the desired form.
“We must make sure that the pureed food is not sticky or too watery so that it is easily consumed by people with swallowing problems.”
“Patients with dysphagia are at risk of having food go into their windpipe and lungs during swallowing. This may lead to an accumulation of food particles in the lungs thus causing aspiration pneumonia.”