Taste, choice and timing: Investigating resident and carer preferences for meals in aged care homes
Miller, Michelle Deanne
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There has been little empirical investigation of the preferences of people living in aged care homes for food services. The aim of the present study was to elicit consumer preferences and their willingness to pay for food service in aged care homes. Current residents or their family members were invited to take part in the discrete choice experiment questionnaire administered via interview. Of the 109 eligible residents and 175 eligible family members approached for consent 121 (43%) participated, including 43 residents. Participant preferences were influenced by food taste, choice in relation to serving size, timing of meal selection, visual appeal, and additional cost. Participants indicated they would be willing to pay an additional $24 (US$18.42) per week for food which tasted excellent and $8 (US$6.14) per week to have choice in serving sizes. The study found that respondents were willing to pay a premium to receive food that met their expectations of taste, and for a high level of control over serving sizes, which has implications for the funding and provision of food and dining in long-term care in the future.
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