One of the nation’s most iconic food groups, SPC, has unveiled a dedicated nutritional health care company, SPC Care, following the damning findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the 2021 Federal Budget.
The royal commission’s final report determined that two out of three people in aged care facilities are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition, which saw the Federal Government respond by lifting the Basic Daily Fee for residents by $10 in the Federal Budget.
However, critically, the increase of $10 does not mandate what proportion of the Basic Daily Fee is used for meals and meal provision, as the Basic Daily Fee can be used by care providers to fund laundry and facilities management
“Like most Australians, we found the commission’s findings alarming and believe the Government should ensure that the resultant increase in the daily fee for residents have a mandated amount that is allocated to meals and thus better food solutions for them,” SPC chairman, Hussein Rifai, said.
“We are determined to take leadership of this important issue by establishing a dedicated company focused on improving nutrition for the older population living both in care facilities and at home.
Rifai said at present, more than 15 per cent of Australians are 65 years or older and this number is expected to grow to about 20 per cent by 2058.
Many industrial countries around the world, he said, are experiencing similar demographic shift in the age of their population.
“So the problem is not going away in Australia or other industrial countries.
“We believe positive action needs to be taken now and better food be serviced to aged residents in facilities and at home”, he added.
SPC Care will provide older or infirm Australians, as well as health care groups, with food that meets diverse nutritional needs.
The new company has built a centre of excellence in science-based nutrition and is working on further unlocking the nutritional elements of locally grown fruit, grains and vegetables.
SPC has already been researching and producing fruit-based snack and beverage solutions through its ProVital brand, nutritious specialised meal solutions through its new subsidiary, The Kuisine Company, and home delivered meals through The Good Meal Company.
With the creation of SPC Care further development funds will be invested to expand the company’s product range and food delivery models.
SPC Chief Commercial Officer Bree Vidovich said the company is expanding its offering through meal solutions that address special nutritional requirements.
“As an example, we are making food products easy to open for people that suffer from arthritis and other meal solutions that cater for people with health issues, including dysphagia, diabetes and gluten intolerance,” she said.
“Creating these science-based meals, snacks, and beverages will reduce food waste at the point of consumption, improve the mental health of the consumer and most importantly improve the overall health of our ageing population.”
The new company, she explained, will expand the current range of tasty and nutritious meals that will cater for different ethnic groups, different religious and other dietary requirements.
“Everybody has the right to eat tasty, high quality, healthy and appropriate meals all day, every day,” she said.
A key issue identified by SPC Care is the lack of knowledge and training of the carers in aged care homes, and even more so of home carers of the unique nutritional requirements of the ageing population.
The result is that older individuals do not receive the nutrition that they need.
In response, SPC Care is planning to provide training and education to carers about nutrition standards, the important role of food in wellbeing.