2021 年 32 巻 1 号 p. 37-47
This study investigated how the flavors and forms of daycare lunches influence their consumption by young children -a proxy for childhood preferences- toward a meal-based investigation to inform strategies for reducing food waste and pickiness in early childhood. The volume of food eaten at lunch by children aged 3 to 5 enrolled at a childcare center were recorded and analyzed with respect to the characteristics of the corresponding menu items. A principal component analysis was conducted to determine the relative contribution of different qualities -salt and sugar content, acidity, hardness, cohesiveness, and adhesiveness- to the volume of each food consumed. The first factor, named seasoning/hardness, is composed of sugar content, hardness, and salt content, all of which showed a strong and positive correlation with consumption volume. The second factor is ease of swallowing and made up of cohesiveness and adhesiveness, which have a significant positive and negative correlation with consumption volume, respectively. In some classes, multiple regression analysis revealed a weak negative relationship between unserved food and seasoning/hardness, and a weak positive relationship between leftover food and seasoning/hardness as well as ease of swallowing. Our results suggest that richness of flavor and ease of swallowing are major predictors to why small children take second helpings or leave food uneaten.