Taste and Flavor Development

Speaker: E.S. Ross Presented at: 2016 NNIW87

Summary

Newborn infants already have the ability to discriminate flavours from exposure during fetal life. Breastfed infants, exposed to varying flavours in their mother’s milk, respond to flavour changes in breast milk. These infants are more accepting of a wider variety of foods in the weaning period and up to 2–7 years of age.  Formula-fed infants lack exposure to variety in flavours, but can show effects with repeated exposure. In this presentation, Dr Ross described what is known about the development of taste and flavour in the newborn infant and during the introduction of complementary foods. She explained strategies to influence the acceptance of novel foods during transition to solid foods, and discussed research directions to improve nutrition in young infants and children. Children with greater experiences with flavours or textures are more accepting of complex textures. When transitioning to solid foods, children must learn to accept a variety of ever-changing sensory inputs.