Focusgroepdiscussies over pizza en groentesalade met kinderen van 10-12 jaar: resultaten en aanbevelingen voor productontwikkeling

A.M. Janssen, N.T.E. Holthuysen, D.A.J.M. Stijnen, G.G. Zeinstra, M.N. Vrijhof

    Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


    Introduction In the Netherlands, the consumption of fruit and vegetables is too low among children. One of the main reasons is that children often do not like to eat vegetables. In the project Healthy food for kids - Kids University, the following consortium partners collaborate: Kids University for Cooking Foundation B.V., Scelta Mushrooms B.V., Oerlemans Food B.V., Bunzl Verpakkingen B.V., Rijk Zwaan Distribution B.V., Tuinderij Vers B.V. and Wageningen UR Food & Biobased research. The focus is to measure children’s product experience of (more) healthy vegetable foods and to translate gained knowledge into food concepts high in vegetable content developed for children aged 10-12 years. In this report, results of the research aiming to better understand factors that are important for children when eating pizza and vegetable salad, is described. Another goal was to determine what choices children make when they compose their own pizza or vegetable salad. Study methods Children (about 50 for each product type) from the neighbourhood of Wageningen came to the Restaurant of the Future of Wageningen UR to compose their own pizza or vegetable salad. Subsequently, a focus group discussion was held with the children. Then, they ate their own made pizza or vegetable salad while filling out a questionnaire. Prior to the actual test, parents of participating children and the children themselves completed questionnaires. Pizza - Results and conclusions For children, a round, regular sized pizza with vegetables homogeneously distributed over the pizza, with a crispy and not too thick crust, is most appealing. A pizza is mostly eaten during dinner. The most used pizza is a deep frozen pizza. Pizzas currently on the market contain on average 100 grams of vegetables, ranging from 20 to 220 g per pizza. However, the recommended daily amount of vegetables for this target group is 150-200 g. The children view a pizza especially as a tasty and convenient food, it is associated with party and it is not associated with healthiness. The children would like to know what – which vegetables – they eat, so hiding ingredients is not appreciated. The results clearly indicate that ‘unknown’ vegetables are less appreciated: tomato sauce is the most popular on a pizza, which further includes the more traditional vegetables (tomato (red or mixed) peppers, corn, mushroom, onion). Some children mentioned a variation of five different vegetables on a pizza. Not all children like pizza ingredients to the same extent: some ingredients are appreciated by the children, however part of the children do not like these ingredients at all (e.g. pineapple). So for the children it is important to be able to decide themselves of what vegetables their pizza is composed. Pizza - Product development, recommendations and opportunities Compared to the pizzas currently on the market, a distinctive pizza would be one that contains significantly more vegetables (e.g. 150-250 grams) than pizzas those already available. As long as the perception of a pizza is judged as 'pleasant', it seems to be possible to develop an attractive pizza for children that consists of various vegetables in a considerable greater proportion than the amount of vegetables present on the pizzas currently on the market. A strategy might be, to pack different vegetables in separated packages, so a child can easily compose its own pizza. Parents may be tempted to purchase such a pizza, when a really healthy pizza is developed (with less fat, less salt). Also a creative package, reflecting the healthiness of the pizza rich in vegetables and one that is attractive for a 10-12 year old child, might convince parents to purchase this pizza. Possibly, the package might contain an educational aspect. Vegetable salad - Results and conclusions Vegetable salads are eaten often (often more than once a week), and are usually eaten at home during dinner. The overall composition of the vegetable salad is determined by the parents. Children associate eating of a vegetable salad especially with healthiness and delicious. Considering a vegetable salad, choices of children and the responses to the questionnaires from both parents and children, are in agreement: a delicious vegetable salad for children should include: cucumber, tomatoes (sliced and/or mini tomatoes), lettuce, (red) pepper, corn and carrot. Even more than for the pizza study, it became clear that there is a large variation among children in their liking of a specific vegetable, e.g. tomato and lettuce. For most of the children and parents, a vegetable salad should be colourful and should contain familiar vegetables that can be recognised in the salad. Just as found for the pizza, hiding of ingredients is not appreciated. Important for the children is to be able to influence the composition of their own vegetable salad. Dressing is not very popular among children. A dressing might make a vegetable salad more attractive, provided it is a healthy dressing. Vegetable salad - Product development, recommendations and opportunities A possibly successful vegetable salad on the market for children aged 10-12 years, is a colourful vegetable salad, preferably consisting of a combination of raw vegetables with tomato and cucumber, and also nuts (pine nuts) and possibly also cheese, egg and croutons. To be distinctive on the market, a vegetable salad should consist also of other vegetables in addition to the ones mentioned before. The reported research shows that children generally have a preference for more familiar vegetables, but results point to options to develop a successful vegetable salad composed of vegetables lesser known by children (e.g. radish, celery). A strategy might be, to pack different vegetables in separated packages, so a child can easily compose its own vegetable salad. Probably the vegetables should not be cut into very small pieces, as then children cannot recognise the vegetables very well anymore, which might result in rejecting the salad. During market introduction, it is important to spend effort in communicating on healthy dressings that are already available. A transparent container is most appealing, and possibly an option is a package consisting of parts each with different vegetables (so children can compose their own salad). Also, the package might contain an educational aspect. Possibly a package might be designed suitable to be taken to school (without cooling). In this way an extra eating moment for vegetable salad is created, with a salad that differs from the ones already available on the market. Another (new) eating moment might be to eat a vegetable salad as an after-school snack, with a package that fits this eating moment.
    Original languageDutch
    Place of PublicationWageningen
    Number of pages86
    ISBN (Print)9789461739858
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Publication series

    NameRapport / Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research


    • children
    • perception
    • pizzas
    • vegetables
    • salads
    • food consumption
    • consumption patterns
    • nutrition and health
    • product development
    • netherlands

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