BEHIND THE SCENES: How Apetito is combating malnutrition in care homes

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Leading health and social care food producer apetito is offering a unique partnership model to ensure care home providers offer nutritious and varied meals on a consistent, daily basis. Care Home Professional went to apetito’s Trowbridge headquarters to find out more.

Trowbridge-based apetito prides itself on being able to offer the finest quality ethically sourced food. Nothing better demonstrated this than our visit to local beef supplier Manor Farm in Steeple Ashton, Wiltshire.

Manor Farm is a third-generation family run farm extending over 1,500 picturesque acres. Beef is sourced here for apetito through meat processor Alec Jarrett whose abatoir is located 15 miles from Manor Farm. All of apetito’s beef is sourced from UK and Irish farms.

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Its local ingredients also include Bramley apples which are sourced from Kent and also supplied to Marks & Spencer.

Care homes sales manager Lisa Delaney told me: “We pride ourselves on the quality of our locally sourced produce. If we can buy food locally, we will.”

Local produce is delivered to apetito’s nearby base in Trowbridge. Here, apetito prepares its full range of over 200 main courses and desserts. More than a million meals are made each week at the facility at a rate of 100 tonnes a day.

The producer’s 450 care home clients, include major providers such as Care UK and WCS Care.

Accounting for 10% of sales, the care homes sector is the fastest growing part of apetito’s business. Word is spreading fast of the benefits of its convenient, safe and healthy one-stop shop formula for care home nutrition.

“What’s really important to us is that we can control that whole experience right from producing the food to bringing the food into the home and making sure we are there to support the customer every step of the way,” care home divisional manager Ellen Brown told me.

Through its PartnerCare business partnership programme, apetito offers a bespoke service, including on-site training and tasting sessions with residents and relatives.

Client development managers are allocated to each home to make sure all needs are catered for. “We pride ourselves on our partnership approach,” Ellen explained.

“We’re not someone who drops the food on the doorstep and then walks away. “What’s really important for us is how we can add value for our customers and make the lives of their residents that much better.”

Meals are generally provided on a four-week basis, ensuring customers have the maximum range of choice and variety. The recipe is clearly working. WCS Care, which boasts the most Outstanding care homes in the country with five, is a big advocate of the apetito approach.

WCS Care offers a five-option apetito menu. At its recently opened Castle Brook home, residents can choose apetito meals at its in-house shop and have them served to them in their community dining areas.

Going forward, providing specialist nutrition for the frail and elderly will be an increasing focus of apetito’s product innovation.

The food supplier is a world leader in providing, moulded pureed food for people with dysphagia through its texture- modified range.

The recently launched Mini Meals Extra range provides nutritious, high energy meals for those with a reduced appetite with each serving containing 500 calories and at least 20g of protein. Apetito was a founding member of the Malnutrition Taskforce, an independent group of experts across health, social care and local government addressing avoidable and preventable malnutrition in older people, and has launched a new project targeting the nutritional needs of people living with dementia.

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