Self-crafting vegetable snacks: testing the IKEA-effect in children

Br Food J. 2017;119(6):1301-1312. doi: 10.1108/BFJ-09-2016-0443. Epub 2017 Jun 5.


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to test whether the IKEA-effect (Norton et al., 2012) - better liking for self-crafted products than for identical products crafted by others - can be exploited to increase liking and consumption of vegetable snacks in children.

Design/methodology/approach: A between-subjects experiment was conducted at an after school care facility. In total, 86 children aged four to six either crafted a peacock with vegetables or with non-food objects following an example. After the task, children ate snack vegetables ad libitum, and rated their liking for the vegetables and pride in crafting the peacock.

Findings: No significant main effect of the vegetable snack creation on consumption and liking was observed. Also, perceived pride did not mediate the effect of self-crafting vegetable snacks on consumption of and liking for vegetables.

Research limitations/implications: Vegetable consumption did not differ between children who were either simply exposed to vegetable snacks while crafting or those who were crafting the vegetable snacks themselves. The equal consumption might suggest that this is caused by simple exposure, but more research is needed comparing self-crafting and exposure to a condition where there is no initial exposure to vegetables.

Originality/value: Although the IKEA-effect has been demonstrated in adults, this is one of the first studies evaluating the IKEA-effect in children and as a means to increase liking for a generally disliked product in this target group, i.e. vegetables. The IKEA-effect could not be replicated under these more stringent conditions, where the experimental set-up enabled disentangling exposure and crafting effects.

Keywords: Children; IKEA-effect; Vegetable consumption.