In several studies, it has been found that repeated exposure to a novel food increases children’s acceptance of the exposure food. The present study, investigated how repeated exposure influences the acceptance of two Nordic berry juices, and whether the development depends on initial liking of the product, in 9–11 year-old children. The study had 317 participants. Two groups of children were exposed to either sea-buckthorn (n = 92) or aronia (n = 105) juice eight times, and performed two follow-up sessions 3 and 6 months after the 8th exposure. A third group (n = 120) served as controls. During pre and post-test sessions all participating children evaluated acceptance of both juices.
Intake of sea-buckthorn juice increased significantly over the eight exposures (55.1 ± 7.3 till 108.8 ± 12.3) and remained high after 6 months (131.1 ± 13.2). Intake of aronia juice was only increased at follow-up sessions. Liking did not develop significantly for any of the juices across exposures. When children were grouped by their initial liking increased intake across exposures was observed regardless of initial liking of sea-buckthorn. Liking developed similarly for both juices. A significant increase was found for the ‘initial dislikers’ only. This study demonstrates how exposure effects are influenced by initial liking; it appears that changes in familiarity explain the changes seen for sea-buckthorn among ‘dislikers’. ‘Initial dislikers’ had the most benefit from repeated exposures, but did not reach ‘initial likers’ across eight exposures; more exposures in the group of ‘initial dislikers’ had possibly led to even higher liking and intake. The increased intake observed for ‘neutral likers’ and ‘initial likers’ of sea-buckthorn was not explained by increased familiarity or increased liking.
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