Elderly people sitting at the table and eating
Food region
Eastern European
Small City
Senior-WIGOR Day Care Centre a FEAST Living Lab

The University of Lodz, as the Polish partner of the FEAST project, coordinates a Living Lab located in Tuszyn, a small municipality in Central Poland. This Living Lab consists of the Senior Day Care Centre "WIGOR", which is part of a chain of day-care institutions for elderly people financed by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy within the second edition of the Senior+ governmental programme (2021-2025).  Our Living Lab's primary objective is to investigate the eating habits of senior residents, examine the quality of meals provided on site, spread practical and theoretical knowledge on healthier and more sustainable diets, devise and implement interventions crucial for the improvement of the community's eating culture and map out recommendations useful for upscaling the results of the research process. The main assumption of our actions within the FEAST project is that elderly people have very specific dietary and nutritional needs and that their eating habits impact the quality of ageing processes.

Video in Polish with English subtitles

Who we would like to support

Our primary target group comprises twenty one residents (eighteen women and three men), between the ages of 60 and 96. These residents meet the eligibility criteria and have been admitted to the Senior-WIGOR day care centre.  The group's physical and mental abilities vary, but none of the residents are legally incapacitated. The second target group is the staff employed in the facility, including the manager, the caregiver, the physioterapist and supportive personnel. In addition, the external target group includes a provider of meals (vocational activation public institution) and local authorities (the mayor of Tuszyn municipality and his coworkers). 

First steps

  • Establishing cooperation between the University of Lodz and Senior-WIGOR day care center;
  • Informing the mayor of Tuszyn municipality about the project’s goals;
  • Applying for the permission of the UL Ethical Commission to conduct research in the facility;
  • Obtaining consent from the participants of the research project;
  • Conducting two workshops for seniors in November 2022 and February 2023;

What’s coming next

  • In-depth semi-structured, anthropological-like interviews on eating habits, traditions and customs taken from the family home of senior centre’s residents;
  • Measuring the current level of satisfaction with meals provided in the facility and tracking weekly food intake in the form of a food diary in cooperation with a nutritionist and a geriatrician;
  • Setting up a vegetable garden and planting herbs in cooperation with students;
  • Conduct the next series of workshops, which will include preparing green cocktails, tasting Asian cuisine, playing a board game on healthy food, and more.
Top view Lodz

Get to know the region

Poland is a significant food producer in Europe, with total agri-food exports reaching a value of 37.4 billion EUR (National Support Centre for Agriculture, 2022).  The main segments of exports include meat (19%), grains and cereals (13%), sugar and confectionary (7%), dairy (7%), fish (6%) and fruit (5%). The Polish Living Lab is located in Tuszyn, a small town in Central Poland, Lodz Voivodship, with a population of approximately 7.000 people. The Lodz Voivodship has approximately 126,000 farms with agricultural land, and almost all of them (99%) are individual farms. There are relatively few organic farms in the voivodship. The share of organic food in the Polish food market is approximately 0.3% (Ecological Action Plan for the Lodz Voivodship 2018-2022). The icons of Polish food culture are pork, ham, sausage, potatoes, cabbage, dumplings and pickled cucumbers. 

Learning about food pyramide

Local Food Challenges

In Poland:

  • High popularity of wheat products over whole grain bread or gluten-free alternatives;
  • Strong tradition of red meat consumption;
  • High levels of alcohol consumption;
  • Low level of ecological awareness;
  • High prices of organic food;
  • Relatively low supply of organic products (in comparison to other food sectors);
  • Strong attachment to socio-cultural stereotypes (one must eat meat to be strong, one must drink cow’s milk to grow tall etc.)

In the Living Lab:

  • Insufficient financing of meals (procurement procedure aims at selecting the cheapest food provider);
  • Low level of ecological awareness;
  • Unvaried menu;
  • Salads not adapted to special needs of elderly consumers (dentures/problems with chewing);
  • Insufficient intake of water;
  • Lack of knowledge on nutrients supporting healthy aging
Elderly people eating

Living Lab Activities

In the first phase of the project, the FEAST team from the University of Lodz will conduct a series of workshops and mini lectures for both seniors and staff of the day care centre.  The aim of these workshops is to build a friendly and trustworthy environment, provide educational benefits, encourage more informed customer choices, and establish links between dietary patterns, health and well-being. The workshops that have been organised so far aimed to popularise spices and herbs in seniors’ everyday diet and discuss essential nutrients for old age. Both workshops included tasting new dishes and flavours, such as hummus and other legume-based vegetable products, olive oil, plant milk, turmeric, ginger, black cumin seed oil and others.

In the second phase our team will conduct individual, semi-structured interviews with residents of the senior centre to understand their eating habits, tastes, consumer choices, family traditions and other aspects of broadly understood local food culture. Another part of the qualitative research includes diagnosing the level of satisfaction with the quality of meals provided by the facility, with consultations with a nutritionist and a geriatrician. 

Apart from research activities, the Living Lab will also engage in a variety of community actions, such as setting up a vegetable garden (in cooperation with students and a local gardening company), planting herbs, preparing green cocktails, playing board games, tasting Asian cuisine, and more. 


Women’s Studies Centre, University of Lodz
Aleksandra Różalska

Faculty of International and Political Studies, University of Lodz
Kaja Zapędowska-Kling

Faculty of Management, University of Lodz
Artur Modliński


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