Posts Tagged ‘aroma’

“Tasty and crunchy please” children say

May 1, 2010

As part of my doctoral research I studied  how Maltese and Gozitan children prefer their fruits and vegetables. A recent study with children from the Netherlands has found some similar results.

From my research it was clear that children’s attraction to fruits and vegetables depended on such factors as taste, texture, temperature, aroma and colour.

Some of the specific features in these categories were common promoters or barriers to consumption for both vegetables and fruit.

For example, attributes such as ‘sweet’, ‘flavoursome’, ‘fresh’,  ‘juicy’ and ‘red colour’ attracted children to both food groups; whereas attributes such as ‘soft’, ‘soggy’ and “full of seeds” were barriers to consumption for both food groups. 

These were the key findings:

Features in vegetables and fruits which attracted children

Flavour: Pleasant, flavoursome, sweet, vinegary flavour, fresh, “special”

Texture: Thin”, “light”, creamy, juicy, crunchy, hard

Colour: Red, violet

Size: Small

Shape: Round

Convenience: Easy to peel or divide

Enjoyment value: Fun to eat (e.g. globe artichoke leaves) or to make funny faces with (e.g. cherry tomatoes in cheeks)

Features in vegetables and fruits which were less attractive

Flavour: Unpleasant, strong, bitter, sour

Texture: Dry, soft, soggy/ “squashy”, chewy, full of seeds

Convenience: Difficult to pick up from plate, difficult to keep on fork, dribbles 

The Dutch study found that the majority of children liked steamed or boiled vegetables best, and attributed this to the fact that the carrots and beans used in the study retained their original taste, colour and crunchiness. These findings were pretty similar to  those for Maltese children.

For more on the Dutch study read here:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE62N1EY20100324

Do your experiences with children tally with the above?

What do you do to attract children to eat fruits and vegetables?

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