Call a Vegetable a Vegetable: Perceptions and Taste Ratings

Janel Reeves1, Sharon Thompson2, *, Alexandria Floyd3
1 Biology and Exercise and Sport Science, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC, 29528, United States
2 Department of Health Science, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC, 29528, United States
3 Health Promotion, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC, 29528, United States

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© 2017 Reeves et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Health Sciences, College of Science, Coastal Carolina University, Swain Hall 147, PO Box 261954, Conway, SC 29528, United States; Tel/Fax: 843-349-2635; E-mail:



Research is mixed regarding how nutritional value of food can influence perceptions about taste, particularly among children. This study examined children’s perceptions of vegetable-enhanced snacks and milk substitutes prior to and after tasting.


Two taste tests were performed with two groups of elementary age children (n = 29 and n=22). Prior to each tasting, they were made aware of the food being tasted. Participants provided perceptions of taste prior to sampling and also after tasting. Data were analyzed with paired two sample t-tests. In Taste Test #1, children gave spinach brownies higher ratings after tasting (prior: M=2.24; after: M = 2.86, p < .05) and rated cheesy sweet potato crisps lower after tasting (prior: M = 2.45, after: M = 1.48, p < .05). In Taste Test #2, children rated both vanilla soymilk (prior: M = 1.91, after: M = 2.64, p < .05) and zucchini oatmeal cookies (prior: M = 1.73, after: M = 2.46, p < .05) higher after tasting.


Consumption of vegetable enhanced foods or milk substitutes may be encouraged without deception in order to promote a more nutrient dense diet among elementary-aged children.

Keywords: Children’s nutrition, Taste test, Vegetables.