Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2020

Playful Design and Children’s (Dis)Liking of vegetables: A closer examination of the role of color and familiarity. 

Research paper

By SunMin May Hwang, Sarah Alfalah, Jieun Misa Kwon, PI: Barry Kudrowitz, Zata Vickers 

Plant-based vegetable food and drink products are becoming more and more popular in the U.S. with increased awareness for health benefits as well as for its positive environmental impact. Advances in research, technology and market strategies have collectively made plant-based eating trends to emerge in various sectors of the food system. Yet there is a lack of effort in marketing these unfamiliar plant-based products to children, particularly in comparison to non-nutritious food products that are effectively utilizing child-oriented design in the marketplace. Considering that childhood food habits often last into adulthood, it is imperative that the healthier plant-based vegetable food products, including raw form of vegetables, utilize appropriate design interventions to bring about positive changes in children’s choice of food.

 This article examines the impact of playful design of select vegetables, and the role of familiarity and color on a child’s preference toward new form of vegetable product. The first phase of the research explores the effect of playful and interactive vegetable design on children’s choice and the second phase inspects the nature of children’s preferences based on the most crucial criteria extracted from the former study, familiarity and color.

The findings of the research illustrate the need for further exploration as designers and marketers on ways to promote children’s preferences towards wholesome choices through appropriate use of ‘playfulness’ and ‘interactions’ in food designs, without compromising for the most important factor, ‘familiarity’