Prediction of children's flavour preferences. Effect of age and stability in reported preferences

Appetite. 2010 Aug;55(1):69-75. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 Apr 24.


The present study investigated whether children were able to communicate stable flavour preferences and whether mothers' ability to correctly identify their child's flavour preferences is related to the stability of their child's flavour preferences. On 2 consecutive days, 75 girls and 77 boys (3-10 years, mean age=7.1+/-2.3 years) carried out a preference ranking task for five ice-cream flavours: mint, coffee, chocolate and two variants of vanilla. Without input from their child, mothers ranked four of these flavours according to their own understanding of their child's flavour preferences. Spearman rank order correlations suggest that older aged children (5-10 years) have more stable flavour preferences than younger aged children (3-5 years) (p<0.05). Only 39% of mothers were able to correctly predict children's most preferred flavour, but significantly more parents (61%) were able to predict children's least preferred flavour (p<0.05). Mothers' ability to correctly predict their children's least preferred flavour seemed to be facilitated by children's ability to communicate their least preferred flavours in a consistent manner (p<0.05). It is recommended to apply proper sensory methodologies with children rather than relying on mothers' report when interested in children's likes. When interested in children's dislikes mothers' report might be suitable.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Flavoring Agents
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Ice Cream
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste*


  • Flavoring Agents