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Fruit & vegetable taste testing

Health Factors: Diet & Exercise
Decision Makers: Community Members Educators Employers & Businesses Local Government State Government Healthcare Professionals & Advocates Nonprofit Leaders Public Health Professionals & Advocates
Evidence Rating: Some Evidence
Population Reach: 50-99% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Description

Schools and employers can offer taste tests of fruits and vegetables in cafeterias, nutrition classes, school gardens, or workplace well-being meetings as a way to increase exposure to a variety of fresh produce. Taste testing opportunities are usually offered as part of a multi-component intervention. Parents can provide their children with taste testing opportunities at home.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased fruit & vegetable consumption
Improved nutrition

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that taste testing fruits and vegetables as part of a multi-component intervention increases fruit and vegetable consumption among children, adolescents, and adults (Knai 2006, Burchett 2003, French 2003, Davis 2009, EBHPP-Ciliska 1999, CDC-MS FFVP). Taste testing fruits and vegetables is a suggested strategy to improve nutrition (CDC-Fruits and vegetables 2011, Cancer Control PLANET, WIPAN-Schools, WIPAN-Worksites). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Willingness to eat vegetables increases among 2 to 6 year olds whose parents provide them with taste testing opportunities (Wardle 2003). Exposure to and taste tests of fruits and vegetables have been shown to increase liking and consumption of fruits and vegetables among children overall (Cooke 2007). Taste testing combined with cooking demonstrations in small food stores can increase healthy food purchasing and willingness to try unfamiliar foods among consumers of all ages (Gittelsohn 2012).

When taste testing is part of a multi-component intervention, students’ preference for and consumption of fruits and vegetables have been shown to increase (Burchett 2003, French 2003, Davis 2009). In a Mississippi-based study, taste testing fruits and vegetables has also been shown to increase students’ familiarity with and willingness to try fruits and vegetables in some instances (CDC-MS FFVP).     

Implementation

United States

There are a number of programs and organizations in the US that facilitate taste testing opportunities. The national Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) offers free fresh fruits and vegetables to all children in participating schools throughout the school day (USDA-FFVP). Taste testing also frequently happens in conjunction with farm to school lunchroom activities, in school gardens, and with food promotion activities (USDA-F2S).

Researchers have developed new tools to help capture changes in students’ willingness to try fruits and vegetables through food tasting activities, particularly in a classroom or afterschool setting (Kaiser 2012).

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program are examples of programs that support taste testing opportunities for Wisconsin children (WI DPI-F2S) (WI DPI-FFVP).

Implementation Resources

USDA-FFVP - US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Fresh fruit and vegetable program (FFVP). Accessed on February 10, 2017

Citations - Evidence

Burchett 2003* - Burchett H. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among British primary schoolchildren: A review. Health Education. 2003;103(2):99-109. Accessed on December 1, 2015
Cancer Control PLANET - Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. School-based behavioral interventions are recommended to increase vegetable and fruit consumption among youth. Accessed on November 30, 2015
CDC-Fruits and vegetables 2011 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Strategies to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases: The CDC guide to strategies to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS); 2011. Accessed on March 1, 2017
CDC-MS FFVP - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mississippi fresh fruit and vegetable program. Accessed on January 11, 2016
Cooke 2007* - Cooke L. The importance of exposure for healthy eating in childhood: A review. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2007;20(4):294-301. Accessed on December 8, 2015
Davis 2009* - Davis EM, Weber Cullen K, Watson KB, Konarik M, Radcliffe J. A fresh fruit and vegetable program improves high school students' consumption of fresh produce. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009;109(7):1227-31. Accessed on December 8, 2015
EBHPP-Ciliska 1999 - Ciliska D, Miles E, O’Brien MA, et al. The effectiveness of community interventions to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in people four years of age and older. Ontario, CAN: Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP); 1999. Accessed on January 14, 2016
French 2003 - French SA, Stables G. Environmental interventions to promote vegetable and fruit consumption among youth in school settings. Preventive Medicine. 2003;37(6):593-610. Accessed on February 4, 2016
Gittelsohn 2012 - Gittelsohn J, Rowa M, Gadhoke P. Interventions in small food stores to change the food environment, improve diet, and reduce risk of chronic disease. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2012;9:110015. Accessed on February 25, 2016
Knai 2006* - Knai C, Pomerleau J, Lock K, McKee M. Getting children to eat more fruit and vegetables: A systematic review. Preventive Medicine. 2006;42(2):85-95. Accessed on February 5, 2016
Wardle 2003 - Wardle J, Cooke LJ, Gibson EL, et al. Increasing children's acceptance of vegetables; a randomized trial of parent-led exposure. Appetite. 2003;40(2):155-62. Accessed on November 19, 2015
WIPAN-Schools - Wisconsin Nutrition and Physical Activity Program (WIPAN). What works in schools. Accessed on January 20, 2016
WIPAN-Worksites - Wisconsin Nutrition and Physical Activity (WIPAN). What works in worksites. Accessed on January 12, 2016

Citations - Implementation

Kaiser 2012* - Kaiser LL, Schneider C, Mendoza C, et al. Development and use of an evaluation tool for taste-testing activities by school-aged children. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012;112(12):2028-34. Accessed on February 24, 2016
USDA-F2S - US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Farm to school (F2S). Accessed on February 7, 2017
USDA-FFVP - US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Fresh fruit and vegetable program (FFVP). Accessed on February 10, 2017
WI DPI-F2S - Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Farm to school (F2S) Accessed on November 18, 2015
WI DPI-FFVP - Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Fresh fruit and vegetable program. Accessed on December 12, 2015

Page Last Updated

January 8, 2014

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