Researchers from Wageningen University and Centre for Innovative Consumer Studies from the Netherlands were interested in figuring out how to get children to eat more vegetables – will they do so if provided a choice? In order to answer this question, they chose to combine different research methods and discussed their requirements with a consultant from Noldus.
After that phase, all the equipment was on-site at a restaurant the researchers chose. This restaurant acted as research facility. The participants were recruited by the researchers, via an existing network. In this case, researchers contacted parents and asked them to take their children and come to the restaurant. After consent was given, Noldus recorded the test sessions on video. Many videos were recorded because video tells the story!
Over 300 children were recruited. Three different conditions were recorded on camera: no meal choice, choice between two meal options, or a choice of options within one meal. Individual eating behaviors (food intake, nonverbal behaviors), as well as interactions with parents, were scored and analyzed by Noldus consultants.
Record interactions on video
Capture naturalistic eating behaviors
Understand decision making processes
Results showed that choice did not correspond to higher intake of vegetables. In other words, despite the positive aspects of being given a choice, children inherently do not like to eat their veggies!