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Early influencing factors on the development of sensory and food preferences

Nicklaus, Sophie; Schwartz, Camille

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: May 2019 - Volume 22 - Issue 3 - p 230–235
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000554
PAEDIATRICS: Edited by Berthold Koletzko and Raanan Shamir

Purpose of review The current review focuses on studies investigating the factors related to the development of preferences for foods and sensory inputs (tastes, odours, and food textures) in the first years of life, which constitutes a specific window for food learning.

Recent findings Foetal nutrition, intrauterine growth, and prematurity influence food preferences; this topic warrants more research to broaden our understanding of the 1000 days phenomenon. Although it is less studied than other sensory inputs, food texture acceptance, and the related sensitive period for texture introduction are attracting more attention, as is the impact of fat acceptance. Research should focus not on vegetables alone but on diverse foods whose consumption is encouraged (e.g., fishes and legumes). The role of parental feeding practices, as another major determinant, continues to inspire research exploring the bidirectional influences between children and caregivers. New interventions have confirmed the strong positive influence of repeated exposure to foods through familiarization via taste lessons, cooking, or play activities on acceptance. Interventions that consider individuals traits are necessary.

Summary Although new evidence is available, it remains a challenge to consider both individual traits and bidirectional influences between parents and children and to investigate this issue worldwide and in all socioeconomic status groups.

Centre des Sciences du GoÛt et de l’Alimentation, AgroSup Dijon, CNRS, INRA, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Dijon, France

Correspondence to Sophie Nicklaus, UMR Centre des Sciences du GoÛt et de l’Alimentation, 17 rue Sully, 21000 Dijon, France. Tel: +33 3 80 69 35 18; e-mail:

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