New Senior Dining Group Launches as Sector’s Ambitions Grow

The Senior Dining Association, just a few months old, targets food service in the senior living space—a space that’s raising its standards for a new generation.

A new association has one key item on its menu: A plan to raise the culinary standards at senior living facilities around the country.

The Senior Dining Association, which got off the ground earlier this year, aims to separate the unique needs of food service at senior living facilities. Harris Ader, the founder of SDA, noted to McKnight’s Senior Living that there was a clear need for a differentiation from other areas of food service, as well as from senior living associations at large, which tend to have much broader content focuses.

In regard to food service groups, he told the outlet, “they lump senior living with healthcare or other non-commercial channels—business and industry, kindergarten through 12, college and universities. We are a totally different beast. We’re very unique.”

What makes them unique? In part, it’s because the food quality is on the rise: With a new audience of baby boomers coming in, many facilities specifically targeting older audiences are raising their culinary standards to better serve audiences who still want a surprise or two with their meals.

Felicia Crawford, the director of hospitality at Atlanta’s Canterbury Court, noted in an interview with the Gainesville Times that this is leading facilities to improve food quality and even create multiple destinations for the audiences they serve.

“As the younger generation starts coming in, we’re seeing they’re very health- and wellness-focused,” Crawford told the outlet. “Besides still having lots of choices on where to eat, they want to know what’s in various items and is it nutritional.”

It appears that a lot of organizations seem to agree with Harris Ader’s assessment of the field, as SDA already has 335 members—including both individuals, organizations, and industry partners—and is lining up its first annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, next March.

Ader noted that, beyond assisting those who already work in the industry, SDA aims to draw more people into the field—a topic prominently featured on its website.

“We want to help connect the hospitality industry to the senior housing industry and educate people about the senior housing industry,” he told McKnight’s.

(monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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