The Role of Emotions in Children’s Food Preferences

How are emotions and food related? On the one hand, emotions and moods can influence what food we want to eat and how much of it, and on the other hand, the food we consume can provoke emotions in us. In the first case, the relationship has been widely researched in food-related disorders like obesity and anorexia. In the second case, which only gained more attention recently, the exposure of food can trigger emotions in us like happiness, sadness, and excitement.

The field of consumer research paid particular attention to this phenomenon. Nowadays, we can find a lot of similar products by different brands on the market. Just think of all the different tomato sauces or chocolate bars that you can find at the grocery store. What makes us choose one brand over the other, although the products may be very similar? Is it the brand name, the logo of the product, the health information or just the fact that we know this product very well? It has been suggested that emotions can give a better prediction of why a product is chosen over another even though they are both liked.

Consequently, there is an urgent need to develop innovative and easy-to-conduct emotion measurement tools to understand what drives children’s food choices and how. With my research I hope to gain deeper insights into children’s food choices with the goal to promote healthier food.



Köster, E. P., & Mojet, J. (2015). From mood to food and from food to mood: A psychological perspective on the measurement of food-related emotions in consumer research. Food Research International, 76, 180–191.

Spinelli, S., & Monteleone, E. (2018). Emotional Responses to Products. Methods in Consumer Research, Volume 1, 261–296.

Ares, G., & Varela, P. (2018). Methods in Consumer Research: Alternative Approaches and Special Applications (Volume 2). Woodhead Publishing.


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