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Can you explain flavor bridging?

A flavor bridge is a simple blend of two flavors – one that is mild and generally pleasing, and another that is unique and less palatable at the first bite.

Consider this example: kids love cashews, but aren’t usually fond of kale. If you mix the two flavors together with the right proportions, children will like the taste enough to keep eating. The exposure to kale will slowly increase their familiarity and comfort with its natural flavor, and kids will start to genuinely enjoy eating kale.

Curious to learn more? Click below to find out what researchers are finding out:

Taste Training:

Amy Paturel, MPH, describes what nutrition imprinting is and how your child’s early eating nutrition will affect her life-long eating habits.

Mom and childhood nutrition author, Karen Ranzi, discusses how food preferences begin to form even before baby is born.

Developmental Psychologists, Susan Sullivan and Leann Birch, determined that 4 and 5 year olds develop a preference for certain flavors (Sweet, Salty or Plain) after only 15 exposures and exposure to one flavor (e.g. sweet) leads to decreased preference for other flavors (e.g. plain).

Human development specialists, Lean Lipps Birch and Diane Wolfe Marlin determined that kids taste preferences can be changed after a 26-day series of familiarization trials.

“From the very earliest age, children's experiences with food influence both preferences and intake, and research suggests that the earlier and broader that experience, the healthier the child's diet.” Studies of 5 to 7 year olds determined that large increases in liking and intake of vegetables could be achieved by increase exposure.

Barriers to Health:

Harvard sociologist, Caitlin Daniel, observed that parents’ taste preferences attenuate reluctance to expose children to more nutritious foods for fear that children will waste unfamiliar foods and other family members will not eat the rejected food.  Since children often refuse unfamiliar foods 8 to 15 times before accepting them, parents fears are often confirmed prior to new taste preferences being formed, perpetuating a cycle of unhealthy eating across generations.

Kale, brussels sprouts, collard greens, broccoli and other nutritious foods have evolved to produce a bitter tasting compound called goitrin to serve as a deterrent for plant-eating animals wanting to consume their bountiful nutrients.  This leads to longer rejection periods in children unfamiliar with their flavor.