Date Published: 5 January 2012

Children like colourful foods

Health News from the United States of America (USA)
Children like colourful foods

More news from Cornell University (USA).

Health News from the United States of America (USA)

Children like colourful foods. That is one conclusion from recent research at Cornell University (New York State, USA).

Researchers discovered that colourful foods are more appealing to children than adults. Specifically, food plates with seven different items and six different colours were found to be especially appealing to children. Conversely, adults tended to prefer fewer colours - typically just three items and only three colours.

" What kids find visually appealing is very different than what appeals to their parents," said Brian Wansink, professor of Marketing in Cornell's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

" Our study shows how to make the changes so the broccoli and fish look tastier than they otherwise would to little Casey or little Audrey."

How was the research conducted ?

Prof Wansink and co-authors Dr Kevin Kniffin and Dr Mitsuru Shimizu of Cornell University and Francesca Zampollo of London Metropolitan University, presented 23 preteen children and 46 adults with full-size photos of 48 different combinations of food on plates that varied by number of items, placement of entrée and organization of the food.

" Compared with adults, children not only prefer plates with more elements and colors, but also their entrees placed in the front of the plate and with figurative designs," Kniffin said.

" While much of the research concerning food preferences among children and adults focuses on 'taste, smell and chemical' aspects, we will build on findings that demonstrate that people appear to be significantly influenced by the shape, size and visual appearance of food that is presented to them."


While the results of this study may seem unsurprising, it is interesting to find experimental data supporting observations that varied, colourful and creatively presented plates of food are more likely to appeal to children than less colourful or artistically presented meals.

Source: Cornell University, New York State, USA

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