Food plating preferences of children: the importance of presentation on desire for diversity
Article first published online: 30 JUL 2011
© 2011 The Author(s)/Acta Pædiatrica © 2011 Foundation Acta Pædiatrica
Volume 101, Issue 1, pages 61–66, January 2012
How to Cite
Zampollo, F., Kniffin, K. M., Wansink, B. and Shimizu, M. (2012), Food plating preferences of children: the importance of presentation on desire for diversity. Acta Paediatrica, 101: 61–66. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02409.x
- Issue published online: 5 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 30 JUL 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 18 JUL 2011 08:21AM EST
- Received 1 February 2011; revised 29 June 2011; accepted 7 July 2011.
- Child nutrition;
- Dietary intake;
Aim: Given the importance of food presentation and childhood nutrition, we aimed to test the degree to which adults and children might demonstrate different preferences for various ways in which food can be presented on plates.
Methods: Twenty-three pre-teen children and 46 adults were individually presented full-size photos of 48 different combinations of food on plates. The photos varied according to seven dimensions (e.g. number of items, placement of entrée and organization of the food).
Results: Contrary to the default assumption that parents and children share preferences for the ways in which food is presented on plates, we find that children have notably different preferences than adults. Most remarkably, we show that children tended to prefer seven different items and six different colours on their ideal plates, while adults tended to prefer three different colours and three different items.
Conclusion: The assumption that children prefer food presentations that match adult preferences appears to be unjustified. Future research and interventions that are designed to improve childhood nutrition should test for the impact of diverse presentations on actual food consumption among a variety of populations across institutional settings.