Close Close
Mother and Baby

Children can’t recognise or enjoy ‘real’ food any more, says survey

Children can’t recognise or enjoy ‘real’ food any more, says survey

A new study suggests that engineered foods are impacting children’s ability to recognise, experience and enjoy the taste of ‘real’ foods.

The research document, “Engineering Taste - Is this the future of our children’s food?”, by Greg Tucker, Taste Psychologist and Professor Andy Taylor, Nottingham University, says children are growing up thinking chickens don’t have bones and apples don’t have cores.

Many engineered foods claim to be ‘natural’ on the packaging, making it confusing for mums trying to buy the best quality food for their little ones. 

The food industry creates easy and quick meals for children, but which don’t resemble ‘real’ foodstuffs despite their marketing claims. 


A classic example is the chicken nugget. It might be made of 100% chicken breast meat, with no artificial colourings or flavourings, but it has been engineered into a bitesize, convenient form that doesn’t resemble a real chicken at all. 

Researcher, Taste Psychologist Greg Tucker says, “We’re seeing a new take on artificial. The addition of a natural ingredient to a food, but one not expected or understood, and designed to shift or materially enhance the delivery is an artifice – carrot juice in a strawberry yoghurt is clearly not right. This zone of artifice is a deliberate mislead by the food industry, and it’s changing how children eat.


“These engineered foods behave differently when it comes to flavour release. Rather than a slowly released flavour that moves at the pace of the chew, we get a more instant hit of flavour and an immediate reward.  But this flavour burst quickly dies away and leaves children feeling emptier sooner, so they eat more.  Eating more engineered foods and fewer ‘real’ foods means that children miss the experience of the ‘real’ taste and instead look for immediate gratification.”

A survey by Organix of 1,000 mums supports the suggestion that children are losing their taste for real food, with the surveyed mums saying: 

  • Two thirds of children prefer chicken nuggets (66%) to chicken breast (34%).
  • Eight out of 10 children prefer tomato ketchup (81%) to fresh tomatoes (19%).
  • Eight out of 10 children prefer fish fingers (81%) to fillet of fish (19%).
  • Nearly half (49%) say that a little ketchup or mayonnaise helps the vegetables go down.
Related content:


No comments have been made yet.

Chinese Gender predictor
Chinese Gender Predictor

Is it a boy or a girl? Tell our tool the month you concieved and how old you are and find out! 

Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby
Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby

Read Dr Pixie's guide to learn how to deal with nappy rash

The Magic Sleepsuit
The secret to a quiet night’s sleep – The Magic Sleepsuit

If you’re little one is struggling to settle now they’ve outgrown the swaddling stage, this could be the answer to your sleep-deprived prayers!

Celebrating parenting's small wins
Celebrating parenting's small wins

As mums, we're constantly told to enjoy every moment; in reality, parenting can sometimes be challenging. That's where small wins come in...

Subscribe to Mother&Baby

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator
Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.
Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week. 

Lemonade Money
It’s time to make sure your loved ones are protected

Every parent knows the importance of planning ahead; from the new school shoes, to your little one’s education, you want to fill their future with hopes and dreams. Yet are you one of the 80% of adults here in the UK that has no life cover?