Plain English Summary
Background and study aims?
TASTE is an investigation of the impact of evidence-based guidance provided to parents on the introduction of vegetables during the transition to solid foods. Research has shown that children in the UK are not eating enough vegetables and fruit. The main predictor of the foods children eat is how much they like them. Research investigating methods of increasing childrens vegetable acceptance highlights the importance of repeated exposure i.e. repeatedly offering small amounts of a particular vegetable to taste. Evidence suggests that this leads to greater acceptance of vegetables in younger infants. In addition, early introduction of fruit and vegetables during weaning has been associated with greater intake later in childhood. Variety is also important in increasing infants acceptance of new tastes, and research has shown that daily changes in the vegetables offered to infants leads to immediate increases in preference and intake and to greater acceptance of new foods generally.
Who can participate?
Mothers are being recruited during pregnancy at the University College London Hospital ante-natal clinics and after birth through London-based GP practices and online forums. All mothers taking part in the study will live in the London area.
What does the study involve?
Participants will fill in an initial questionnaire about their pregnancy and a home visit will be arranged just before they are ready to start introducing solids. Parents in the control group will receive usual care, whilst parents in the intervention group will be given guidance and an information leaflet providing advice on:
The importance of introducing single vegetables as the first complimentary foods
The beneficial effects of offering a wide variety of fruit and vegetables and offering something different every day
The techniques of exposure feeding with repeated tiny tastes
The need for persistence when a baby initially rejects a food
Understanding babies facial reactions to food
In consultation with mothers, 5 vegetables will be selected as the first weaning foods to be offered. Parents will be asked to offer the foods on rotation for 15 days, so each vegetable is tried 3 times in total. Parents will be asked to record their progress in a diary. In the following weeks, mothers will be advised to continue to offer a wide variety of different tastes to their infants, but to broaden the selection to include fruit purees such as apple, banana, or pear etc.
All participants will be visited at home on 3 occasions. Child food intake and preferences, infant temperament, infant eating behaviour, maternal feeding practices and food neophobia (fussiness) will be measured using questionnaires. Infants subsequent intake and liking of an unfamiliar vegetable will also be measured in follow up taste tests.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The study does not pose any risk to the participants involved.
Where is the study run from?
University College London
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
From March 2010 until early 2013.
Who is funding the study?
The European Commission. The TASTE study is part of a large European Union funded project entitled HabEat.
Who is the main contact?
Dr Lucy Cooke
The impact of parental guidance on early exposure to a variety of fruit and vegetables on infants liking and consumption: a randomised controlled trial
Trial of Advice on Starting Taste Exposure (TASTE)
UK children eat too few fruits and vegetables and preferences for vegetables are low. Since food preferences influence intake, it is important to develop interventions to increase liking for vegetables. Research suggests infants introduced to the taste of vegetables early during the weaning process, like and consume more of them both in the short and longer term.
In addition, experimental studies indicate offering a variety of vegetables is especially effective. The experience of tasting many different flavours leads to greater acceptance of unfamiliar foods and may reduce pickiness. The present study is an randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing a homebased intervention comprising guidance on introducing a variety of vegetables in the first weeks of weaning with usual care.
Central London REC1, 04/10/2010, ref: 10/H0718/54
Randomised; Interventional; Design type: Not specified
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Quality of life
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Topic: Reproductive Health and Childbirth, Generic Health Relevance and Cross Cutting Themes; Subtopic: Reproductive Health and Childbirth (all Subtopics), Generic Health Relevance (all Subtopics); Disease: Reproductive Health & Childbirth, Paediatrics
Control group: Usual care
TASTE group: Participants in the intervention group will receive an information leaflet and verbal advice on introducing a variety of single vegetables with daily changes, during the early stages of complimentary food introduction. Home visits and telephone interviews for both groups will take place on three occasions throughout the study period, during which psychometric measures including; maternal feeding practices, infant eating behaviours, food intake and preferences will be taken.
Primary outcome measure
Novel vegetable intake (gms); Timepoint(s): 1 and 6 months post-intervention
Secondary outcome measures
1. General vegetable variety evaluated using questionnaires; Timepoint(s): 1 and 6 months post-intervention
2. Liking of novel vegetable (observer rated); Timepoint(s): 1 and 6 months post-intervention
3. Neophobia evaluated using questionnaires; Timepoint(s): 6 months post-intervention
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Singleton pregnancy in 3rd trimester
2. Over 18 years old at time of recruitment
3. Speak, read and write English fluently; Target Gender: Female; Upper Age Limit 40 no age limit or unit specified ; Lower Age Limit 28 no age limit or unit specified
Target number of participants
Planned Sample Size: 120; UK Sample Size: 120
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Infant feeding problems
2. Infant health problems
3. Premature birth (<37 weeks)
4. Maternal mental health problems
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Health Behaviour Research Centre
University College London Gower Street
European Commission (Belgium)
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
The trial findings have been published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Findings were also presented at the 23rd European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) Congress, Liverpool 2013, the VIVA Conference, St Andrews, Scotland, March 2013 and the Association for the Study of Obesity, Leeds, England, June 2012. Further information on the trial is also available through the HabEat website: http://www.habeat.eu/index-2.html
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Available on request
Basic results (scientific)
2015 results in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26063588