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SOFT Spoon crafts delicious and appealing senior-friendly cuisine in Thailand

Satisa Sombatthawee, MD of SOFT Spoon and her husband founded SOFT Spoon for senior-friendly blended food in Thailand. (Photo credit: SOFT Spoon)

SOFT Spoon is the pioneering company for senior-friendly blended food in Thailand. Its management discusses how the company educates the market and aims to provide seniors with delectable and nutritious meals.

Satisa Sombatthawee, MD of SOFT Spoon, and her husband embarked on a transformative journey three years ago that changed the way elderly citizens in Thailand consume their meals, in collaboration with CareMay Healthlife of Taiwan, international sales representative of FoodCare from Japan. The inspiration behind SOFT Spoon was deeply personal, rooted in Satisa's own quest to find senior-friendly blended food for her grandmother.

With a decade of experience in the food and beverage industry, Satisa and her husband founded SOFT Spoon. Their mission was crystal clear: to create delicious and nutritious Thai cuisine tailored for the elderly population in the country. Collaborating closely with a dedicated team of food scientists, researchers, chefs, and dietitians, Satisa set out to develop a range of senior-friendly blended foods that not only met nutritional requirements but also delighted the taste buds of the elderly in the country.

Being an industry pioneer,Satisa faced numerous challenges, particularly given the limited support from the Thai government for elderly food companies and users. The company adopted a multifaceted approach, targeting both individual customers and institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. To connect with potential customers, SOFT Spoon utilized various online channels, including social media platforms like Facebook and Line, which are widely popular in Thailand.

Product strategy and innovation

SOFT Spoon’s main strength lies in its ability to replicate the appearance, aroma, and taste of natural food closely. Satisa stressed the importance of not only making the food healthy but also appealing. She noted, "Healthy food is essential, but if it's not delicious, nobody wants to eat it," addressing the common issue of elderly individuals losing their appetite as they age.

SOFT Spoon meals for elderly (Photo credit: SOFT Spoon)

Particularly challenging were the development of fried fish and fried eggs dishes, as recreating the regular aroma and taste of fried food posed difficulties. Despite these challenges, SOFT Spoon's team of chefs, food scientists, and certified dietitians collaborated closely to strike the perfect balance between nutrition, texture, and taste in different temperatures. Satisa added, “We primarily use frozen food because shelf-stable options don't allow us to separate ingredients. If we blend all the components into one cup, the taste doesn't meet customer expectations… Thanks to the high-quality powder from Japan, our food's texture and taste remain consistent, even at minus 40 degrees.”

Currently at IDDSI level 4 (pureed), SOFT Spoon's products are meticulously crafted to ensure both nutrition and flavor. The company focuses on incorporating traditional Thai elements, such as spicy dipping sauces and vegetables, into their menus. The company plans to develop IDDSI level 5 and 6 menus next year, a demand driven by hospitals in Thailand.

SOFT Spoon meals for elderly (Photo credit: SOFT Spoon)

However, breaking into the B2B market proved challenging, especially in nursing homes and hospitals where existing food service teams were already established. In response, the company introduced FoodCare thickener powder as an alternative solution. This innovative approach paved the way for partnerships with hospitals, enabling patients to access SOFT Spoon's specialized blended foods even after returning home from medical facilities. Through promotions at various seminars and exhibitions, SOFT Spoon products found partnerships with private hospitals and nursing homes.

While the company has made significant strides in Bangkok, where 85 to 90% of their customers reside, challenges persist. The predominantly elderly clientele, ranging from their 90s to 100s, presents a unique hurdle due to the natural turnover rate impacting their customer base. Nevertheless, the company remains steadfast in its commitment to providing high-quality, nutritious, and appealing food for the elderly population of Thailand.

As SOFT Spoon continues to expand its offerings and explore innovative solutions, it stands as a beacon of hope for elderly individuals seeking not just sustenance but also culinary delight in their golden years.


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