Published 2023

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Publication details

Journal : Food Research International , vol. 170 , p. 1–11–0 , 2023

Publisher : Elsevier

International Standard Numbers :
Printed : 0963-9969
Electronic : 1873-7145

Publication type : Academic article

Contributors : Velázquez, Ana Laura; Vidal, Leticia; Antúnez, Lucía; Alcaire, Florencia; Varela-Tomasco, Paula; Ares, Gastón

Research areas

Sensory sciences

Consumer insight

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Kjetil Aune
Chief Librarian


The aim of the present work was to explore children’s reaction to sugar reduction in the context of the implementation of nutritional warnings in Uruguay. The study was composed of two sessions involving three evaluation conditions: tasting without package information, package evaluation without tasting, and tasting with package information. A total of 122 children, ages ranging between 6 and 13 years old (47% girls) were involved in the study. In the first session, children’s hedonic and emotional response to a regular and a sugar-reduced chocolate dairy dessert (without other sweeteners) was evaluated. In the second session, children first evaluated their expected liking, emotional associations and choice of packages differing in the presence of warning labels for excessive sugar content and cartoon character (2x2 design). Finally, they tasted the selected sample in the presence of the package and evaluated their liking, emotional associations, and intention to re-taste it. Although sugar reduction led to a significant reduction in overall liking, the dessert with 40% sugar reduction showed a mean overall score of 6.5 in a 9-point hedonic scale and was described using positive emoji (, , ). When the desserts were tasted with package information, no significant differences in the expected overall liking of the regular and sugar-reduced dessert were found. Regarding the effect of packaging elements, the presence of a warning label highlighting excessive content of sugar did not have a significant effect on children's choice. Instead, children's choices were defined by the presence of a cartoon character. Results from the present work provide additional evidence about the feasibility of reducing the sugar content and sweetness of dairy products targeted at children and stress the need to regulate the use of cartoon characters on products with an unfavorable nutritional profile. Methodological recommendations for sensory and consumer research with children are also discussed.


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