Identification of basic tastes in foods before and after training among 4-6 year old children – a pilot study

Emma Magnusson, Karin Wendin

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragMuntlig presentation


Human beings have an innate preference for sweet taste and aversion towards bitter. However, the individual perception of taste differs to a great extent and is due to both the ability to detect basic tastes and to the taste concentrations. Taste preferences and identification as well as verbalisation of the taste experience may be improved by learning. Either more or less conscious via the socialisation process or via strategically learning procedures.

The aim of this pilot study was to examine 4-6-year old children’s abilities to identify basic tastes in foods before and after training with basic taste solutions. Further, to note the children’s abilities to verbalise their taste experiences before and after the training.

This study was conducted at a Swedish preschool, where eleven children aged 4-6 years participated in the four different parts of the study. The first part was a discussion about basic tastes and the second was to test ten different foods while further discussing the tastes. The third was a training part where the children learned to recognise the basic tastes sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami by tasting basic taste solutions. The last part were a basic taste test in which the children were asked to answer which basic tastes they could identify in each food. Further, it was noted how the children verbalised the tastes of the foods.

From the results it could be concluded that the children had a significantly higher ability to identify salty taste compared to other basic tastes, both before and after training. Improved abilities both to detect and to verbalise all basic tastes after basic taste training was shown. Due to verbalisation the children went from naming the tastes as "tasty" or "disgusting" to being able to put words on, and to identify many of the basic tastes in each food.

A simple strategy to make children more curious of foods and tastes is to perform training sessions with basic taste solutions. This may benefit young children by contribution of a more positive approach towards new flavours and foods in general.

StatusPublicerad - 2015
EvenemangNAFS - Nordic Association for Food Studies -
Varaktighet: 1980-jan-01 → …


KonferensNAFS - Nordic Association for Food Studies
Period80-01-01 → …

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  • Livsmedelsvetenskap (40103)


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