For folks with dysphagia, a term used to describe a variety of swallowing disorders, one of the biggest challenges can be getting proper nutrition. 1 in 25 adults suffer from this condition, which makes it hard to get nutrition outside of baby food and pureed meals.
Nowadays, multiple solutions are starting to develop as ways to improve nutrition and meal enjoyment for those with dysphagia. Hormel, for example, just created a series of pureed meal kits that focus on taste. A new startup called Nutraphagia is also creating a solution, but through snack bars that literally melt in your mouth.
Called EAT Bars, these snacks consist of a meringue surrounded by a flavored Greek yogurt coating. Developed by speech pathologist Tia Bagan, these new bars are a taste-driven way for those with dysphagia to enjoy a satiating snack.
EAT Bar just launched in January, but Bagan has been working on the meringue bars for at least three years. She got the idea working at nursing homes and hospitals while getting her degree. Many of the patients she attended to had a need for something that "tasted good," "was calorie dense," and "melted quickly." This led to the development of these bars, which sold out rapidly upon their first Amazon launch.
The yogurt coating and meringue interior both dissolve when they mix with moisture, making it easy for those with dysphagia to eat the bars. Flavors are also crafted to help with this, which is why variants like Lemon Meringue are so important. According to Bagan, the taste of citrus can help increase saliva generation, which further helps these bars disintegrate.
At the heart of the EAT Bars, though, is a focus on flavor to ensure those with dysphagia can enjoy the food. It also creates a snacking occasion they may have not had before. Since three bars translates to a single serving, consumers can feel like they're enjoying multiple items at once, not just one prepared meal. They can be shared with other family members as well for a more social experience.
For those with dysphagia, it could be huge to just have this ability to eat something outside of the microwave pureed meals they typically have to resort to.