Sweetness but not sourness enhancement increases acceptance of cucumber and green capsicum purees in children

Vera van Stokkom, A.A.M. Poelman, O. (Olaf) van Kooten en M. Stieger
Soort object
For children it is important to consume enough vegetables to establish healthy dietary patterns. Taste acceptance is an important factor contributing to food choice and consumption. Sweetness and sourness enhancement can increase acceptance of specific foods in children. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of sweetness and sourness enhancement on acceptance of cucumber and green capsicum purees in 5-6-year-old children. Three concentrations of sucrose (2, 5 and 10%) and citric acid (0.05, 0.08 and 0.15%) were added to cucumber and green capsicum purees. Children (n = 70, 5.7 ± 0.5 yrs) assessed acceptance of the vegetable purees using a 5-point hedonic facial scale. Sweetness enhancement significantly increased acceptance of cucumber purees (5 and 10% sucrose) and green capsicum purees (2 and 10% sucrose) compared to unmodified purees. Sourness enhancement (0.05, 0.08 and 0.15% citric acid) did not significantly influence acceptance of cucumber and green capsicum purees compared to unmodified purees. Children differed in acceptance of vegetable purees with added sucrose and citric acid. Sweetness likers (cucumber 77.1%, green capsicum 58.6%) accepted sucrose concentrations better than sweetness non-likers in both vegetables. Sourness likers (cucumber 50.0%, green capsicum 44.3%) accepted medium and high concentrations of citric acid better than sourness non-likers in cucumber and all citric acid concentrations in green capsicum. We conclude that enhancement of sweetness increases acceptance of cucumber and green capsicum purees in most children whereas enhancement of sourness is better accepted by only a few children. This study highlights the challenge to get children to better accept vegetables, since only sweetness enhancement improved acceptance while addition of sucrose is undesirable. For a small subset of children enhancing sourness might be an alternative strategy to increase acceptance of vegetables