Names turn preschoolers into vegetable lovers
Do you have a picky preschooler who's avoiding their vegetables? A new Cornell University study shows that giving vegetables catchy new names – like X-Ray Vision Carrots and Tomato Bursts – left preschoolers asking for more. When 186 four-year olds were given carrots called "X-ray Vision Carrots" ate nearly twice as much as they did on the lunch days when they were simply labeled as "carrots." The Robert Wood Johnson-funded study also showed the influence of these names might persist. Children continued to eat about 50% more carrots even on the days when they were no longer labeled. The new findings were presented on Monday at the annual meeting of the School Nutrition Association in Washington DC.
"Cool names can make for cool foods," says lead author Brian Wansink. "Whether it be 'power peas' or 'dinosaur broccoli trees,' giving a food a fun name makes kids think it will be more fun to eat. And it seems to keep working – even the next day," said Wansink.
Similar results have been found with adults. A restaurant study showed that when the Seafood Filet was changed to "Succulent Italian Seafood Filet," sales increased by 28% and taste rating increased by 12%. "Same food, but different expectations, and a different experience," said Wansink, author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Eat More Than We Think."
Although the study was conducted in pre-schools, the researchers believe the same naming tricks can work with children. "I've been using this with my kids," said researcher Collin Payne, "Whatever sparks their imagination seems to spark their appetite."
Source: Cornell Food & Brand Lab
- First course of veggies may appeal to hungry preschoolersWed, 5 May 2010, 15:46:47 EDT
- Benefits of preschool vary by family incomeTue, 16 Nov 2010, 1:02:23 EST
- Amid rising childhood obesity, preschoolers found to be inactiveFri, 6 Feb 2009, 9:12:41 EST
- Hiding vegetables in kids' foods can increase vegetable intakeMon, 25 Jul 2011, 14:32:50 EDT
- Picky preschoolers: Young children prefer majority opinionFri, 13 Mar 2009, 13:50:52 EDT
- Eat Your Vegetables: Preschoolers Love Vegetables With Catchy Names Like' X-Ray Vision Carrots' And 'Tomato Bursts'from Science DailyMon, 2 Mar 2009, 13:21:26 EST
- Eat More Tomato Bursts - To Kids, Cool Names Mean Cool Foodsfrom Scientific BloggingMon, 2 Mar 2009, 12:35:48 EST
- Names turn preschoolers into vegetable loversfrom Science BlogMon, 2 Mar 2009, 11:07:00 EST
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- UC Davis engineers create on-wetting fabric drains sweat
- Protein study suggests drug side effects are inevitable
- Bed sharing leads to fivefold increase in risk of cot death for babies whose parents do not smoke
- Origins of human culture linked to rapid climate change
- Human-like opponents lead to more aggression in video game players, UConn study finds