‘Just a pinch of salt’. An experimental comparison of the effect of repeated exposure and flavor-flavor learning with salt or spice on vegetable acceptance in toddlers.
Sommaire de l'article
Children's vegetable intake is below the recommended amounts. No studies to date have tested the relevance of using salt or spices to increase children's vegetable acceptance. Our objective was to compare the effect of repeated exposure (RE) and of flavor-flavor learning (FFL) on toddlers' acceptance of a non-familiar vegetable. Two unconditioned stimuli were used: salt and a salt-associated spice. Toddlers attending six nurseries were assigned to 3 groups in a between subject design. Groups were exposed 8 times to a basic salsify puree (0.2% salt w/w; RE group; n = 47), a salty salsify puree (0.5% salt w/w; FFL-Salt group; n = 54) or a spiced salsify puree (0.2% salt and 0.02% nutmeg w/w; FFL-Nutmeg group; n = 50). Acceptance (intake and liking) of the target vegetable (basic salsify puree) and of a control vegetable (carrot puree) was evaluated at pre-exposure, at each exposure of the learning period, at post-exposure, and at 1, 3 and 6 months after exposure. In all groups, intake of the target vegetable increased from pre- to post-exposure. This increase was significantly higher in the RE group (64 ± 11 g) than in the FFL-Salt group (23 ± 11 g) and marginally higher than in the FFL-Nutmeg group (36 ± 11 g). No difference between groups was observed on the increase in liking of the target vegetable from pre- to post-exposure. The increase of the target vegetable intake was still observed after 6 months for all groups. Thus, repeated exposure appears to be the simplest choice to increase vegetable intake on the short and long term in toddlers.