“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – that saying might be truer now than ever before since a recent study conducted by a team from University College London has uncovered a connection between following a Mediterranean-style diet with lower risk of frailty in older adults. While loading up on fruits and vegetables has always been considered healthy, the new study shows that there is a significant association with those who eat primarily plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains and reduced risk of frailty.

What is frailty?
The term “frail” has recently emerged as a concept to assess the overall health status of older people, with frailty involving deficit accumulation and depleted physiological reserve across multiple body systems. As a result, frail people are more likely to suffer from fractures, hospitalisation, disability, and dementia.
Moreoever, frailty increases with age, plaguing those who often already have multiple medical problems and disabilites, and lowers quality of life. As Europe’s older population grows, the problems stemming from frailty have become a pressing issue among healthcare providers and those it afflicts.

Nutrition is key
Nutrition plays a vital role in the development of frailty, and new research indicates that a healthy diet is associated with lower risk of becoming frail. A recent analysis of almost 6000 older individuals from France, Spain, Italy, and China has resulted in consistent evidence that those who follow a Mediterranean diet are 50 percent less likely to become frail compared to those who do not.
Research also shows that the benefits of adhering to a Mediterranean diet extends beyond preventing frailty. A healthy diet emphasising plant-based foods may help older people maintain muscle strength, weight, activity and energy levels, and thus, improve quality of life in multiple ways.

The next step
While research shows that adhering to a Mediterranean diet is associated with significantly lower risk of frailty in older people, future studies are needed to confirm just how stictly a Mediterranean diet must be followed to effectively reduce the risk of frailty.

Demand for protein is swiftly on the rise. As consumer awareness of the role that protein plays in good health increases, so does demand for more sources of protein. Loaded with health benefits, protein is used in virtually every facet of healthy living from preventing weight gain and promoting satiety to increasing muscle development and helping with healthy ageing.

Healthy ageing

Independence, quality of life, and good health are all crucial factors for healthy ageing. One of the major problems of ageing is the gradual loss of muscle mass, strength, and function; a condition known as sarcopenia.

Research has shown that protein, particularly the essential amino acids, is a vital nutrient for maintaining muscle health in older adults and preventing sarcopenia. Older adults, however, are less responsive to the anabolic stimulus of low doses of amino acid intake compared to younger adults – an issue which can be overcome with higher levels of protein consumption, requiring older adults to consume a larger dose of protein to generate responses similar to that seen in younger adults.

Protein alone is not enough

While increasing intake of protein is beneficial to older adults, upping protein intake alone is not enough according to new research. Clinical studies carried out by a team at Wageningen Univesity in the Netherlands show that resistance training must be paired with sufficient protein intake to maintain or improve muscle health and function in older adults.

As part of the study, the adults taking part in the trials were given either a protein supplement or a placebo. By the 24 week deadline, those taking the supplement showed a 40% increase in muscle strength, an increase of 1.3 kilos in muscle mass, and a substantial improvement in physical functioning. The placebo group improved in strength and physical performance but showed no difference in muscle mass.

These results led the research team to conclude that protein supplementation is needed to allow muscle mass gain during exercise training in older adults.

 

Driven by new technology and sustainability concerns, consumers are increasingly taking control over what they buy and when and how they shop. As a result, grocery retail is expected to experience 5 major trends that will change the way the market operates in 2018.

Hyperlocalism
The first of these trends is based on the growing number of consumers who expect and want food products to be locally sourced to support their communities, reduce food waste, and encourage the fair treatment of producers. Known as going hyper-local, this development is forcing retailers to “think global and act local” by supporting small food producers, leading to an increase in product rotation based on seasonal availability.

Battle of the retailers
Next comes smart shopping, which has grown in popularity thanks to electronic personal assistants like Google Home, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa. The ease of placing an order online has driven online sales revenue, with food manufacturers now prioritising digitalisation. As a result, home delivery innovation is growing as retailers rush to come up with newer and more innovative ways to deliver grocery products that have been ordered online. Delivery of food products is especially challenging due to the risk of spoilage and the threat of frozen goods defrosting. However, there are already services that promise delivery within 2 hours and offer 15-minute express delivery on popular food items.

As e-commerce takes over grocery retail, our fourth trend shows physical grocery stores fighting back in order to entice shoppers. Expanding their product range with exotic or artisan foods and exciting new merchandise and adding social activities such as dinner clubs and wine bars are just some of the tactics physical retailers are resorting to in their battle with online retailers.

Green_consumers
The fifth and final trend revolves around so-called green consumers. With consumer awareness on the rise, shoppers are increasingly focused on what goes into their food and how their purchases affect the environment. This rise in ethical consumerism is leading to distrust of “big food”, the industry giants behind many commercial food products. Clean labels and organic, all-natural products are the new gold standard for food production, encouraging transparency and traceability – not just in products, but throughout the supply chain. Another result of ethical consumerism is the shift towards plant-based diets by consumers, mainly driven by concern for the environment.

Source: What trends will shape grocery retail in 2018? by FoodNavigator

 

The INCluSilver panel of experts met for a collective session a few months ago with the purpose of developing a set of competencies key for SMEs’ innovation efforts in the context of personalised nutrition.

The 19 experts agreed on seven competencies vital for small and medium sized companies to either possess or be aware of if these companies are to be successful and innovative in the context of developing personalised nutrition products or services for older adults. The panel debated the competencies in groups of four and each group selected five competencies.

Collaboration competency, business competency, and consumer understanding were highlighted by all four groups. The experts noted that it would be crucial for the success of the projects that the partners identify, reach out to, and collaborate with experts who possess competencies that they don’t possess themselves. Especially if they are missing a number of the seven highlighted competencies.

The business competency was described as an over-arching competency by some and as a sub-competency by others. One expert depicted it as such:

Cross-cutting all competencies is a business competency. So you need to have a business competency within the general practitioner practice service, which, now in modern times, is the norm.”

The experts also agreed on the importance of engaging with and understanding the consumer. It is vital to ensure that the product addresses the needs of the consumer, especially if it requires behavioural change by the consumer. In relation to this, one of the experts stated the following:

So, are people ready to receive this information, are they ready to change their diet, or do they know how, or do they have the skills.

The need for a technological competency and understanding was also discussed by the experts. However, the experts linked this competency to two of the other seven competencies: consumer understanding and market analysis. In order to develop a successful piece of technology, it is crucial to identify whether it covers a gap in the market and whether it addresses an actual consumer need.

The last two of the seven competencies are the fundraising competency and the nutritional competency. The expert panel felt that in most cases SMEs need to have a certain level of understanding of the nutritional sciences themselves in order to develop personalised nutrition products.

Read more about the members of the panel of experts here.

 

The application deadline for the first round of our Proposal Innovation Vouchers and International Property Rights Innovation Voucher has officially been extended to Sunday, December 31, 2017.

The primary reason for the extension is to allow as many SMEs as possible the chance to apply before the new year. The INCluSilver team also wants to encourage anyone with a viable idea within the field of personalised nutrition for the silver economy to apply for funding to ensure we achieve the best results with this project.

Read more about the Proposal Innovation Vouchers and the International Property Rights Innovation Voucher and apply here.

More than 150 participants from 17 countries, representing the European Commission, national and regional authorities, policy makers and cluster practitioners attended the ‘Clusters in Europe IV – How can we draw from the lessons of past to secure future success?’ international cluster conference between 30th November to 1st December in Budapest, organized by the Hungarian Ministry for National Economy for the fourth time.

The goal the conference was to give an overall picture about the European cluster scheme from the beginning to the present, focusing on the triggers and driving forces in different countries, regions that initiated a new network based approach in Europe. On the other hand, the event aimed at identifying the “future treasures of networks” based on previous experience and to find the role of the human factor behind successful networks. The conference was opened by the welcoming words of Mr Balázs Rákossy, State Secretary of the Hungarian Ministry for National Economy of, Ms Eszter Vitályos, State Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office of Hungary and Mr Thomas Bender, Head of Unit, European Commission, DG REGIO. They highlighted the importance of cooperation and the role of clusters in the economic system and in different strategies; summarized the last 20 years’ history and the present state of clusters and main goals and the factors of success for the future both in national and European level.

The first day of the conference was divided into 4 blocks. In the first two blocks the participants gave an overview on the evolution of the first national and European cluster policies from the very first steps in the early 1990s to 2017.

One of the keynote speakers, Mr Christian Ketels, President of TCI Network gave an overview on the evolution of European clusters. Following him, Mr Reinhard Büscher, former Head of Unit, European Commission, DG GROW gave a comprehensive and informative presentation of current European regulation. In the second block different countries from Spain, France, Denmark and Austria, as pioneers in cluster policies, presented the last decades of growing cluster networks and the main tasks of developing the policies to make the leading clusters more and more better and to develop the political and legal background for starting new ones.

In the afternoon blocks the treasures of future networks revealed. More presenters highlighted on the importance of multi sectoral complex clusters which are based on the regional diversity and specializations but thanks to the connections the members get an access to non-local resources and a very wide range of capabilities as well. In the last block the speakers highlighted the importance of human factor as one of the most important elements to bring a cluster to success. As the conclusion of the first day after a deep knowledge on the beginning there were inspiring presentations and discussions on developing the cluster policies.

In the second day of the conference the audience parted into four parallel panel discussion.

At the Cluster and SME perspective after 2020 especially in V4 countries panel, the panelists discussed the main tasks for the following programming period and framed the needs in support from the European Commission.

The Cross Clustering–From Cluster to Cluster through Business to Business / from Human to Human to Money to Money panel tricks were shared to keep the productivity of the cluster members alive and some success and failure stories to learn from.

The clusters can help to support supply of the professional employee for SMEs which is a crucial problem in the Eastern and Central European counties and more urgent in the present environment, determined at the Industry 4.0 and Smart Specialization Strategies panel.

At the fourth panel, the diversity based on the special characteristics of the regions revealed as the main area for more effective improvement of clusters. And of course as the title promised the co-speakers mentioned as an advantage to have the „SHE” factor in a cluster management, because diversification can be interpret under the male-female scope as well.

A wide range of hot topics have been discussed at the conclusion of the conference and plenty of interesting forward-looking questions raised up for the cluster conference in 2018 and for the upcoming years. All the presentations and pictures are available on the event’s website. For more information, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our latest cluster meeting in Budapest, on November 28, 2017, was in the spirit of the importance of digitalization.

We have discussed many advantages and disadvantages of digitalization.

Some quick gains organizations are discovering as the result of digitalizing:

•Improve accessibility and facilitate better information exchange worldwide

•Increase response time and customer service anywhere in the world

•Improve the efficiency of business processes, consistency, and quality worldwide.

So then we can say that if an organization adopts today’s digital technologies, it will enable decision makers to have access to all the information they need all the time, from anywhere, and from any device they choose.

The question is: With all these advantages, why are we not seeing all organizations moving to a fully digital environment?

Adopting today’s technologies is no longer optional, the businesses with the best technologies will win because they will have agility and cost efficiencies that others can not have. 

If you are a decision maker in an organization, it is important that you understand that digitization offers an opportunity to integrate business records in digital form accessible by anyone you need.

Our latest cluster meeting in Budapest, on November 15, 2017, was in the spirit of the development of personalized nutrition for people over the age of 50. More than 60 people attended the event, which was a great opportunity for them to become part of the INCluSilver project and to obtain new European partnerships.

As personalised nutrition continues to grow in Europe, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can now apply online to receive up to €60,000 in financial aid to develop ‘innovative ideas, products and technology’ within the field of personal nutrition for the elderly. Supported by the EU Horizon 2020 program, a total of €2.8 million has been allocated for the project, and should kick start personalised nutrition for the senior category.

The INCluSilver project supports collaboration between actors in different sectors to bring innovative ideas that have great potential to reach the market to the field of personalised nutrition for the silver population. 

1st Joint training in TRACE-KEI, was held on 28-29 of June in Bari, Italy where more than 14 cluster managers were involved in the training. The training aimed at giving the TRACE-KEI cluster managers a deeper knowledge on Industry analysis, Market Segmentation and Value chain analysis. The training provided an overview of the theoretical basis of these topics and the application on the most common tools.

On Monday , 21th of November 2016  INNOSKART ICT Cluster and its partners: University of Dąbrowa Górnicza,  You too in IT and DEX Innovation Centre, with the support of International Visegrad Fund organized an international conference called  „Society – ICT – Economy  - Industry 4.0” which got a perspective on digitalisation and its effect on the economy and society.