Chapter 3 – Role of peers

Peers have important influence on children from early years on, although: older is the child - stronger is the influence of peers, especially with teenagers.

Copying of other people´s behaviour starts very early. You may be surprised, but even infants look to other people for guidance in food selection.

If children watch other people eat, they prefer food which is eaten by people with positive over negative expressions, foods being eaten by child over adults, and foods being eaten by child of the same gender as themselves. These characteristics can help us to affect children's willingness to try new foods (Frazier, Brandy N. et al., Developmental Science, 2012). So, the winning combination for child to try new foods could be to watch peer of the same gender who is eating these foods. This knowledge is very well used in commercial industry.

But the most effective situation for child to try new foods is, when he/she has rotated opportunities to eat with a peer or peers who already consume this new food.