Focusing on taste and product attractiveness might help children and their parents make healthier food choices. Star-shaped bread was found to be popular with young children and could help them make healthy food choices, finds research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Austria.
The study is by Dr Marlies Wallner and Bianca Fuchs-Neuhold, Health Perception Lab, Institute of Dietetics and Nutrition, FH JOANNEUM University of Applied Sciences, Bad Gleichenberg, Austria, and colleagues. Therefore, in this study, a visually attractive whole-grain bread was developed based on published health recommendations for salt and fibre, and then children evaluated the bread based on its shape, symmetry and colour.
In the study, 38 children, aged 6-10 years, tested different types of the bread which differed in shape, colour, symmetry and taste. Data were generated via eye-tracking (TobiiŽ X2-60 Eye-Tracker), preference and acceptance testing. With eye-tracking it is possibly to gain information on 'gazing' behaviour. Spots with high interest, positively or negatively, will reach more attention compared to other areas. This data from areas of interest are quantitative and can be combined with data from acceptance testing.
They add: "Our study group's main interest is in food preferences in children. Colour and shape are important factors in product development. Furthermore, we are collecting data in a pan-European study to find out which kind of texture is liked most among European children in 6 different countries."