It is now well-established that consuming fruits and vegetables promotes health and well-being. In particular, intake of fruits and vegetables protects against cancer and is associated with lower levels of obesity. Consumption of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is predicted by the extent to which these foods are liked. However, vegetable intakes remain relatively low, especially in children. Establishing preference for vegetables early in a child s development provides the best opportunity to enhance intake and to promote preferences which will last throughout life. Most children in Europe fail to consume recommended 5 per day portions of fruits and vegetables and many fail to meet minimum recommendations to eat just one portion of vegetables each day.
Therefore, this proposal has three main aims: to compare different methods of introducing complimentary foods in member states which best predict liking of vegetables in the first year of life; to develop and test an optimal weaning strategy to promote vegetable acceptance in infants; and to increase liking and intake of vegetables in children aged 4-5 years using flavour-flavour and flavour-consequence learning. The main outcomes of this research programme are the development of a weaning strategy with an emphasis on early and sustained exposure to vegetable flavours; identification and development of new products to facilitate liking for vegetables and preparing an evidence-base for enhancing intake of vegetables in school age children.