Project owner

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Project period

August 2023 - July 2027

Project summary

This four-year project, TASTE is a collaborative research project between HVL, Bergen, USN, Bakkenteigen and DPU, Aarhus University, Copenhagen. TASTE aims to change school and kindergarten children’s ability to make informed and reflected food choices. Food education activities in the Western world have focused almost exclusively on rigid health norms and hegemonic understandings of nutrition. One of the consequences of this is that little or no space is left for children to reflect upon their eating experiences. The aspect of individual and community-based taste has been forgotten, and even when taste in included, most food scientists and teachers reduce taste to the sensory properties of food, i.e., sour, sweet, salty, bitter and umami. Taste is a complex and highly integrated experience involving physiological, psychic and social dimensions, all of which are equally important. Therefore, there is a need to deepen our knowledge about, and teaching of, taste competence. Investigating how taste education influences children in contemporary schools and kindergartens, TASTE strives to develop critical thinking connected to taste competences. The novelty lies within using different taste dimensions as an analytical tool. Most importantly, TASTE will develop and implement a taste didactic that will allow children to make informed and reflected food choices based on critical thinking. TASTE will involve the subject of Food and Health in primary school, outdoor teaching in Norway and Denmark, and meals and food-related activities in kindergartens in Norway. The didactical approaches to taste education respond to calls for research in prior studies, which conclude that children must be included in a more critical reflective process. The ambition is that TASTE will contribute research-based, taste didactical approaches to practice. TASTE addresses several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 3 (Good health and well-being), Goal 4 (Quality education) and Goal 17 (Partnerships to achieve the goals). Critical thinking is a central competence in UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development Goals: the ability to question norms, practices, and opinions; to reflect on one’s own values, perceptions and actions; and to take a position in the sustainability discourse.