Journal: Food Quality and Preference, vol. 39, p. 117–123, 2015
International Standard Numbers:
Open Access: none
Fish consumption in Norway is lower than currently recommended by health authorities. Parents report various barriers to fish consumption, including children’s dislike of and avoidance to choose fish and resulting family conflicts. Often children are served one main meal option. However, giving children a choice between two types of meals with fish may increase liking of fish.
The aim of this study was to experimentally investigate the effect of choice possibility on liking evaluation of fish by children.
Two groups of children (n = 131) were compared: group 1 (n = 76) without a choice possibility for a fish dish (cod or salmon) and group 2 (n = 55), with a choice possibility between cod and salmon dishes. The experiment took place in a canteen where children evaluated liking of the fish in the dish. Children also reported preferences, consumption frequency and psychosocial development characteristics.
Giving children a choice between the cod and salmon dishes led to a more positive liking evaluation of the fish in the dish. Children with developed choice ability reported lower liking evaluations for fish in a dish they were given without a choice possibility. General liking of fish increased liking evaluations whether the children were given a choice possibility or not.
These results may be explained by a positive bias the children have towards choices they make, especially when they believe they are able to be more autonomous. These results indicate that children may learn to like fish more if they are included in the process of deciding what to have for dinner.