Innovative plant protein fibre and physical activity solutions to address poor appetite and prevent undernutrition in older adults

Development of targeted nutrition for prevention of undernutrition for older adults (PREVNUT 2020)
Innovative plant protein fibre and physical activity solutions to address poor appetite and prevent undernutrition in older adults
Dr. Dorothee Volkert
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institute for Biomedicine of Aging


Partner Organization Partner Country
University College Dublin (UCD)Ireland
Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement (INRAE)France
Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV)Germany
Newcastle University (NU)United Kingdom
University of Padua (UNIPD)Italy
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)The Netherlands
Food Companions BV, Bridge2FoodThe Netherlands

1. Overall project description

1.1 Summary


Older adults with poor appetite are at high risk of undernutrition due to the role of appetite as key driver of food intake. Although a negative impact on health is known, there is currently a lack of effective strategies to prevent undernutrition. Dietary protein and fibre are critical nutrients in this population, and enhancing their intake is vital to preventing undernutrition and maintaining organ function and health.

Objective and approach

In APPETITE a transdisciplinary consortium of experienced and well-connected experts from eight institutions in six European countries will collaborate to enhance protein and fibre consumption of community-dwelling older persons with poor appetite and overcome undernutrition through targeted nutrition and physical activity. 

In a translational approach – from development of innovative food products in cooperation with consumers, to testing of these products at experimental level to clinical application using harmonised methodologies in shared samples – we will combine high-level developmental, metabolic and clinical research. 


  • Older persons with poor appetite will first be carefully characterized, and their nutritional and behavioral preferences evaluated in a mixed-methods approach.

  • Innovative, affordable, easily and widely applicable products will be developed for and together with older adults with poor appetite by combining several domestic plant proteins and dietary fibres. 

  • Mechanistic insights will be gained by examining the impact of selected products, physical activity and probiotic interventions on digestibility, amino acid bioavailability and whole-body protein metabolism. 

  • In a multi-country randomized controlled intervention trial, the impact of two new food products as part of a personalised optimized diet, a physical activity program, and their combination will be determined regarding appetite, dietary intake, nutritional status, anabolic response, metabolic parameters and physiological function. 

  • A wide range of dissemination activities will raise awareness, share knowledge, and improve dialogue between consumers, scientists, healthcare professionals, food industry and health policy


APPETITE will improve our understanding about plant-based protein and fibre products and their metabolic and clinical effects. It will create new knowledge how these products in a whole-diet approach together with physical activity and regular social contacts may contribute to overcome undernutrition. Results will be incorporated in recommendations and guidelines, strengthen European agri-food industry, and inform policy to finally contribute to a better quality of life of older Europeans.

1.2 Highlights

4. Impact

4.1 List of publications

AuthorsTitleYear, Issue, PPPartners NumberDoiPdf

4.2 Presentation of the project

Target groupAuthorsMeans of communicationHyperlinkPdf

4.3 List of submitted patents and other outputs

Patent licencePartners involvedYearInternational eu or national patentCommentPdf

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s
H2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement n.696300

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