Wheat Varieties and the Influence on Children’s Preference and Intake

Much like adults, children have distinct preferences for certain foods.  Many parents and childcare providers can relate to children refusing some whole grains, but not others. Does the type of wheat used in each loaf of bread really matter? 

Researchers at the University of Idaho have found that it does!

This study identified children’s taste preferences for hard white wheat (HWW), hard red wheat (HRW), and non-whole grain (NWG) products.  Each wheat has a distinct flavor profile; hard white wheat is naturally sweeter, while hard red wheat is naturally bitter. Children who participated in this study were offered four bread samples made from Idaho-grown wheat.  The four different samples were made from hard white wheat, hard red wheat, non-whole grain white wheat, and non-whole grain red wheat.  All bread loafs were standardized for uniformity and baking time with the only difference being the type of flour used for each sample.


Left to right: NWG-Red, HWW, HRW, NWG-White

Children’s preferences for each bread sample was determined by a liking scale (yummy, yucky, just okay).  Children’s intake for each bread sample was determined by gathering the pre-weight and post-weight of each bread sample. 

Overall, children reported liking the bread samples made from all types of flour however, children showed a greater preference for samples made from hard white wheat.  Additionally, children consumed significantly more bread made from hard white wheat than bread made from hard red wheat.

Parent’s and childcare providers should understand that flavors of different wheat varieties are not created equally.  Children may prefer and be more likely to consume 100% whole wheat bread prepared from hard white wheat compared to hard red wheat.

Written by University of Idaho Dietetic Student and MS Candidate,

Lauren Keeney

This project was funded by the Idaho Wheat Commission
For the full abstract visit http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672(15)00910-7/abstract
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