The aim of this study is to examine the relation between children’s social and cognitive development and their food preferences. Based on Piaget’s classification of children’s cognitive development (Roedder-John D, J Consum Res 26 (1999), 183–213) and the consumer socialization stages of Valkenburg (Valkenburg PM and Cantor J, J Appl Dev Psychol 22 (2001), 61–72) three age groups were chosen (3–4, 7–8 and 11–12 years). Fruit and vegetable preferences were derived from data of the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey of 1997/1998. For the most popular fruit a shift was observed from apple without peel for children aged 3–4 years to apple with peel for children aged 11–12. The most popular fruit juice for the youngest children was apple juice. For the 7–8 year olds apple juice and orange juice were almost equally popular, whereas the oldest children definitely chose orange juice above apple juice. An increase in complexity of perception and thought, together with the fact that young children prefer higher levels of sweetness than older children (De Graaf C and Zandstra EH, Physiol Behav 67 (1999), 513–520) could be an explanation for the shift in popularity from apple juice to orange juice when children get older. Apple juice is a sweet and simple product, while orange juice is more complex with higher sourness and pulp. Physical development of the jaw and complexity of texture might explain the changes with age concerning apple preference. These results indicate that children’s food preferences might be influenced by their social and cognitive development.
|Publication status||Published - 2005|