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Food startup is making meltable snacks for people with swallowing difficulties

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The term “melt in the mouth” is often used to describe food that’s particularly light and tender. Foodie startup Savorease is taking things a bit more literally. Started by culinary chef and oral reconstruction specialist Dr. Reva Barewal, the company is creating savory, plant-based finger food which literally melts in the mouth — designed for people who are unable or experience extreme difficulty when they try to swallow.

The number of people who experience this problem is probably larger than you think. In the United States alone, 16 million people suffer from difficulty swallowing. That number rises to 590 million people worldwide. Conditions that can cause this problem include ALS, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, head and neck cancer, and more. Usually, people with this difficulty are advised to eat soft foods such as puree or ultra-sweet liquid supplements. However, most people enjoy the “crunch” in their food — which is what Savorease is working to address. Starting by re-inventing the popular snack choice of pairing crackers and dip.

“Shake supplements, puddings, apple sauce, [and] ice cream are all snack foods commonly found on a food cart,” Barewal told Digital Trends. “These tend to fall into the right consistency classification that is allowable for people with swallow problems to be able to consume but can lead to flavor burnout. Our products differ because they address people’s cravings with are the first, savory, with the first ethnically diverse finger food items in the market. [Our] real vegetable-based crackers are a solid foam that rapidly dissolves in the mouth and fits the classification of a transitional food. [Our] dips are puree, and are shelf-stable with citrus notes to whet the appetite and help with the swallow reflex.”

These finger foods have the crunch of their more widespread counterpart but dissolve within seconds. This restores the sensation of eating solid food, but without the challenge of, well, eating solid food. The crackers and dip also equal the calories and protein of a regular shake supplement. That’s immensely important for anyone eating soft food to maintain their weight.

“[So far,] we have conducted three research studies examining the benefits across acute care, chronic care and the physical properties of this food in comparison to existing transitional food,” Barewal continued. “All of the data is compelling and exciting. We are [now] looking at more studies to continue growing our evidence in many different subpopulations, including children.”

Savorease’s products are available for sale in the U.S. Other markets will launch over time.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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