The aim of research from the Future Consumer Lab was to investigate whether children prefer their food served in a particular way and whether their gender and age make a difference with regard to their preferences.
The researchers asked 100 schoolchildren, aged seven to eight and 12 to 14 years, to make a priority list of photos of six different dishes served in three different ways:
- With the elements of the food presented separately so they did not touch each other
- As a mix of separate ingredients and ingredients that were mixed together
- With all the food mixed together
From the children’s prioritisation of the displayed photos, the researchers could see which presentation of the food they liked best and which serving style they least cared for. The study shows that the younger girls (aged seven to eight) prefer the separate serving style, while boys of the same age do not have a preference for how the food is arranged. The research also shows that children between 12 and 14 prefer food to be either mixed together or served as a mix of separate and mixed-together ingredients.