Children prefer natural food, too

Dev Psychol. 2022 Sep;58(9):1747-1758. doi: 10.1037/dev0001387. Epub 2022 Jun 6.


Adults often prefer things that they believe are natural, including natural foods. This preference has serious implications, such as the rejection of cultured meat and other sustainable technologies. Here we explore whether children also prefer natural foods. We conducted two preregistered studies with 374 adults and children from the United States. In Study 1, children's (N = 120) ages ranged from 6-10 years, with 57% of the sample identifying as female identifying as White/European American, whereas adults (N = 120) had a mean age of 30 years and 4 months, with 48.7% identifying as female, and 69.2% identifying as White/European American. In Study 2, children's (N = 63) aged ranged from 5-7 years, with 57% identifying as female and 66% identifying as White/European American, whereas adults (N = 64) had a mean age of 29 years and 11 months, with 60.7% of the sample identifying as female and 59% of participants identifying as White/European American. We found that, like adults, American children of these ages prefer natural over unnatural foods. This was found across two domains (fruit, juice) and a range of measures (tastiness, safety, unnaturalness, desire to consume). This preference was found in children as young as 5 years of age. Overall, we provide evidence that, at least in the United States, our tendency to prefer natural food is present even in childhood. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Food Preferences* / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United States
  • White People* / psychology
  • White People* / statistics & numerical data

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