Twenty-six percent of Japan’s population is age 65 and older, the highest in the world. The United States ranks second with about 15 percent.
Japan is working to address concerns felt by its aging population, which are starting to appear stateside. One of those is dysphagia. More Japanese people die from choking than from accidents, most them from seniors.
Japan’s food industry has created Engay-Foods, easy to swallow food that still looks like food. That’s because it is solid food that has been pureed. A gelling agent is added to the mix, and the puree is rearranged on a platter with a spatula and plastic wrap to help it set. The food retains its original shape but doens't require chewing. The process has been applied to thicken drinks, too.
Watch NPR’s Elise Hu try concoctions like grilled salmon, orange juice and even white wine here.
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