Are young children more likely to taste radishes when they are served a hot meal at the day care? Meike Tros, Master’s student of Educational Sciences, posed this question. For her graduation thesis, she studied the taste perceptions of children of 1–4 years old at twenty day care locations. Contrary to expectations, children are not more likely to taste radishes served in a hot meal, but rather with bread.
For the purpose of this study, Meike got the children to grab, taste, and/or eat radishes. She divided the children into two groups: one with bread for their lunch and one with a hot meal. In total, 160 children (84%) grabbed the radishes, 135 (71%) tasted the radishes, and 60 (31%) ate the radishes. The group eating bread grabbed and tasted the radishes significantly more often and ate the radishes more frequently too.
One possible explanation for this is that the surprise is greater for the children eating bread, which increases their urge to taste. Meike also discovered that these curiosity levels are related to age. The youngest children were almost all curious about the radishes, while the older children showed less interest. It is therefore recommended to allow children to taste and eat vegetables and fruit as young as possible.
Meike has now graduated with an 8+ grade and would love to share her research results. Would you like to see the complete study? Then contact Helen Faasse from KidsFoundation via firstname.lastname@example.org or +31 (0)6 1117 4728.