ESR2 Importance of sensory sensitivity for food perception among children (preadolescents)

Photo CC: Joe Urrutia/Nofima

Project within WP2 (and to a lesser extent WP3, WP4 and WP5)

Objectives:

(1) To map sensory sensitivity levels for the five basic tastes and fattiness in preadolescent children and study relationships between these; (2)  To uncover relationships between sensory sensitivity, hedonic preferences, food neophobia/pickiness and body weight status in preadolescent children; (3) To investigate children’s sensitivity to sugar reduction thresholds and acceptance of sugar-reduced products; (4) To develop age-specific methods for measuring sensory sensitivity in preadolescent children. Proposed approaches may include rating, sorting tasks, stated preference and habits questionnaires, and study of the children’s density of taste buds

Expected results:

This project will provide research-based knowledge about inter-individual variations in sensory sensitivity patterns among preadolescents. The project will also establish the potential role that sensory sensitivity plays in children’s food preferences and body weight status. Further, the fellow will contribute to the development of sugar-reduced dairy products targeted to preadolescents on the Norwegian market by studying children’s sugar reduction sensitivity and acceptance of these products. In addition the project will produce validated protocols for collecting sensory sensitivity data in preadolescents. 3 papers submitted.

Planned secondments:

(1) Academic secondment at UNIFI during 6 months with collaborations with ESR3 on data collection (2) Applied secondment in a local industry (Tine) for 4 months, directed to explore children’s sensitivity to and acceptance of sugar-reduced dairy products. An experimental design will be used and may include sugar-reduced products, but also including sweeteners, sweetness enhancers, and/or combinations of these strategies.

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