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Colorful Food More Appealing to Children than Adults

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A new study by scientists at Cornell University has determined that compared to adults, children find colorful food much more appealing, a discovery that may assist parents of picky eaters to encourage their children to eat more nutritionally varied foods.

23 pre-teen children and 46 adults were involved in the study. They were shown large photos of 48 different food combinations which differed according to the number, placement, and organization of the food items.

The researchers discovered that the children had very different preferences compared to the adults regarding the visual appearance of their food. The children found plates with more food items and colors much more visually appealing, and preferred their entrees to be placed in the front of the plate in a figurative design.

The children were most attracted to plates containing 7 different food items and 6 different colors. The adults generally preferred fewer colors on the food plates, and found plates with 3 food items and 3 colors to be the most pleasing.

While a large amount of research has taken place up until now that focuses on the taste, smell, and chemical composition of food items, the researchers hope that this study will add to that information, and assist parents with providing nutritionally sound, appealing meals for their children.

Results from the study indicate that children are considerably influenced by the shape, size, and visual appearance of food as well as other factors. Adding more variety and color to children’s plates might therefore tempt picky eaters to try different types of food, and provide parents with another means to encourage their children to consume less popular though highly nutritious food items.

The study is published in the January issue of Acta Paediatrica.

Source: Medical News Today