School Dinners

Our chef, GianCarlo, works extremely hard to provide a varied menu of school dinners for pupils at Poplar Farm.

The school's philosophy has been shaped and aligned by research from a group of professionals based at the University of Birmingham, with a particular focus on exploring a range of tastes and textures.

Here is an overview of the ‘Children and Taste Research’, as seen on BBC’s Horizon documentary, ‘The Truth About Taste’

Children experience taste more intensely, both physiologically and psychologically, than adults. Some young people are more sensitive to tastes and textures, whilst others experience high levels of neophobia – a fear of new foods. Such trepidation can continue into adulthood, causing reluctance to try new foods, especially fruit and vegetables.

Influences on taste and food acceptance derive from a variety of factors during infancy. Exposure to the diet of the mother in the womb, variation of foods experienced during weaning and parental consumption of healthy foods during the toddler years are all considered important components.

Parents are encouraged to persist with their attempts to offer new foods, particularly those that are described as ‘middle of the road’ preference. It is estimated that it takes 8-15 exposures (seeing, smelling and tasting) for such foods to be accepted.

Promoting a variety of food intake relies on not being too pressurising or too permissive about tasting new products. Parents are encouraged to model intake, prompt children to taste new foods, provide a positive climate during mealtimes and use small rewards for trying new foods.

You can read more about the research on the link here.