The acceptance of novel foods by children is related to a number of factors, and differences in taste sensitivity may form some specific challenges. High sensitivity might be a barrier to the acceptance of sour/bitter products by children. This study investigated the effect of sensitivity to bitter, sour, sweet, and salty tastes on the acceptance of Nordic juices in 9- to 11-year-old children. A total of 328 children were subjected to two taste sensitivity tests for quinine, citric acid, sucrose, and NaCl. Their acceptance of six juices (carrot, rosehip, sea-buckthorn, lingonberry, grapefruit, and aronia) was measured. Bitter sensitivity was found to be significantly correlated to the intake of the sweet sea-buckthorn and lingonberry juices; the most bitter-sensitive children exhibited the highest intake of these juices. The opposite relationship was found for bitter sensitivity and the intake of the bitter grapefruit juice. Sour, sweet, and salt sensitivities did not affect the intake of any of the juices. Liking scores were not affected by sensitivity. In conclusion, bitter sensitivity appears to influence food intake in children to a greater extent than sour, sweet, or salt sensitivity. Bitter-sensitive children exhibited a reduced intake of grapefruit juice and a higher intake of sucrose-sweetened juices. Thus, bitter sensitivity might be a challenge in the acceptance of certain bitter foods.
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