Star-shaped bread is popular with children and could encourage them to eat more fibre, new research suggests.
The study presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity in Vienna compared children’s responses to different types of whole-grain bread.
“Children like an attractive child-oriented bread style, in this case a star-shape”
It found that brown bread made in a star shaped form was more attractive to children than conventionally shaped brown loaves.
Three quarters of children rated the bread good or very good even though 53% said they did not usually eat whole-grain bread.
In the study 38 children aged 6-10 tested whole-grain bread in different shapes, colours and tastes. As well as how the bread tasted, eye-tracking technology was used to analyse which breads elicited the most interest from the children.
Liking was measured on a scale of one to five – best to worst. The score was better for star-shaped loaves – 1.5 – compared to two for the square-shaped versions.
The yellow coloured versions, produced using turmeric, were chosen less often than loaves which were the usual brown bread colour – 18% versus 82%.
Study authors Dr Marlies Wallner and Bianca Fuchs-Neuhold said: “Children like an attractive child-oriented bread style, in this case a star-shape.
“Modifying healthy everyday foods in this manner to make them more attractive to children could help children make healthier food choices, they said.
The researchers also noted that colour and shape were important factors in product development.
They are now collecting data in six different European countries about which textures children like the best.
The bread research was carried out at the FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Bad Gleichenberg in Austria.