Previous research has suggested that some children have a preference for sour tastes. The origin of this preference remains unclear. We investigated whether preference for sour tastes is related to a difference in rated sour intensity due to physiological properties of saliva, or to an overall preference for intense and new stimuli. Eighty-nine children 7¿12 years old carried out a rank-order procedure for preference and category scale for perceived intensity for four gelatins (i.e. 0.0 M, 0.02 M, 0.08 M, 0.25 M added citric acid) and four yellow cards that differed in brightness. In addition, we measured their willingness to try a novel candy and their flow and buffering capacity of their saliva. Fifty-eight percent of the children tested preferred one of the two most sour gelatins. These children had a higher preference for the brightest color (P <0.05) and were more likely to try the candy with the unknown flavor (P <0.001) than children who did not prefer the most sour gelatins. Preference for sour taste was not related with differences in rated sour intensity, however those who preferred sour taste had a higher salivary flow (P <0.05). These findings show that a substantial proportion of young children have a preference for extreme sour taste. This appears to be related to the willingness to try unknown foods and preference for intense visual stimuli. Further research is needed to investigate how these findings can be implemented in the promotion of sour-tasting food such as fruit.
- salivary flow
- food preferences