Repeated tastings

There is a wealth of evidence showing that the more we taste a novel food the more we learn to like and eat it.
This is a biological phenomenon that can be very helpful for any behavioural intervention designed to change eating habits.

How many tastes are required to establish liking for a particular food vary across foods and individuals and may range from just a few tastes to 15 or more. It is important, therefore, that interventions are designed to ensure that children get the opportunity to taste repeatedly the same set of fruit and vegetables. To ensure that children get to like both fruit and vegetables, both should be made available with efforts to strengthen the presence and liking of vegetables of fundamental importance.

Another crucial consideration, however, is to help children overcome any initial “neophobia” (i.e. fear of novel foods) or resistance to tasting known fruit and vegetables.

As such, the Food Dudes intervention ensures:

  • that children begin to taste the foods;
  • (ii) that the overall experience is enjoyable; and
  • (iii) that they continue to taste, and then eat whole portions, until taste acquisition is fully established.

Through the programme, portions of fresh fruit and vegetables are provided over an intervention period of 16 consecutive school days (Phase 1).



To encourage tasting, pupils were rewarded with small prizes and certificates as well as being shown DVD episodes of the Food Dudes Heroes enjoying fruit and vegetables. These have been described as a key positive element of the programme as reported by both teachers and parents alike.

A whole school approach to health and wellbeing is considered, with rewards reflecting this.

  • Sports bottle – encourages hydration in the classroom
  • Pedometer - encourages physical activity
  • Pencil – academic reference
  • Eraser – academic reference
  • Ruler – academic reference
  • Pencil case – academic reference
  • Lunchbox – healthy eating communication tool – emphasises the home element and encourages provision of fruit and vegetables by parents
  • Stickers and certificates – support materials to maintain engagement and increased consumption in the long-term (post-intervention). Children are encouraged to work at increasing consumption levels at their own pace overtime.

Role models

The Food Dudes are four young superheroes; Charlie, Raz, Tom and Rocco. By eating fruit and vegetables, they gain special powers which enable them to save the world and the ‘Life Force’ from a gang of baddies, The Junk Punks. General Punk and his sidekicks, Miss Demeanour and Master Disaster are trying to drain the energy of the world by depriving it of nutritious healthy foods. With special powers, given to them by eating a colourful selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, the Food Dudes feed the ‘Life Force’ and foil the Junk Punks!

Join the Junk Punks and help keep the Junk Punks at bay…