New knowledge: Girls have a better sense of taste than boys. Every third child of school age prefers soft drinks which are not sweet. Children and young people love fish and do not think of themselves as being fussy eaters. Boys have a sweeter tooth than girls. And teenagers taste differently.
The findings of the world’s largest study so far on the ability of children and young people to taste and what they like have now been published. The study was conducted jointly by Danish Science Communication, food scientists from The Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE) at University of Copenhagen and 8,900 Danish schoolchildren.
In September, 8,900 schoolchildren from all over Denmark took part in a large-scale experiment conducted by Danish Science Communication and The Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE) at University of Copenhagen. It is the first time that such a large-scale study has been done on the sense of taste of children and young people and what they like to eat.
And both pupils and teachers have taken the experiment very seriously: “What is most surprising is that the results are so clear and of such a high quality,” says Bodil Allesen-Holm, MSc in Food Science and Technology, who is the scientific head of the project and head of the Sensory Laboratory at the Department of Food Science at LIFE. “The trends are very clear in all the answers from the many primary and secondary schools: the pupils and teachers have been very thorough and accurate.”Industry must do better, and parents could experiment more
“This experiment has focused on taste alone, while future studies will include more sensory aspects such as smells and appearance to provide a more all-round understanding of Danish children’s preferences,” says Wender Bredie, Professor of Sensory Science at the Department of Food Science at LIFE.
New facts about what children can taste – and what they like:Girls are better at recognising tastes than boys
Surprisingly, as many as 30 per cent of the pupils preferred the variant which contained no sugar at all or very little. “This is new. In other words, soft drinks for children and young people do not always have to contain a lot of sugar,” says Bodil Allesen-Holm. On the other hand, 48 per cent of the pupils just couldn’t get enough: They gave top marks to the sweetest of the variants. “It may be because many pupils are quite used to drinking a lot of soft drinks and eating a lot of sweets,” says Bodil Allesen-Holm.Boys like it wild, girls prefer more muted flavours
Faculty of Life Science (LIFE): Bodil Allesen-Holm, mobile +45 2991 8486, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kirsten Jenlev | alfa
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