A forced-choice pictographic method to measure food texture preferences among schoolchildren

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Methods for measuring food texture preferences in children are based on forced-choice questionnaires where children select their preferred texture within food pairs. However, the validity of these methods has not been well documented. This study aims to develop and validate a questionnaire based on pictographic drawings of 12 pairs of foods differing in hardness or particle content. Children aged 7 to 10 years (n = 97) completed the questionnaire. Three weeks later, a subgroup of these children (n = 75) performed a paired comparison preference test using actual food stimuli corresponding to 6 food pairs in the questionnaire and an acceptance test on two foods varying in the level of hardness (cheese) or particle content (yogurt). Another group of the children (n = 21) was retested with the questionnaire. The average probability of agreement between children's choices in the questionnaire and paired-preference test was 0.67, while the retesting was 0.83. In both assessments, the agreement probability was significantly above the chance level, and there was no significant effect of food pair, age or gender. The questionnaire results revealed differences in preferences for the two textural dimensions. Children showed a lack of a common pattern of hardness preference but a preference for foods without particles. Individual differences in particle preferences were related to food neophobia level, and liking of yogurt varying in the amount of added fruit pieces. The results demonstrated the validity and usefulness of the forced-choice pictographic method to study differences in children's texture preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104783
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Children, Food neophobia, Preference, Questionnaire, Research methods, Texture

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