“I don't like wonky carrots”- an exploration of children's perceptions of suboptimal fruits and vegetables

Annesha Makhal, Maree Thyne, Kirsten Robertson, Miranda Mirosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Children's perceptions of suboptimal fruits and vegetables have not been studied in the suboptimal foods domain. Using two qualitative research methods, this study investigates children's (N = 97) edibility perceptions of suboptimal produce with varied appearance defects. The results show that unlike adult samples previously studied, children are more accepting of suboptimal produce. Defects in shape, size, and certain colour defects were positively perceived, reflecting retailers' opportunities to market suboptimal produce. High levels of brown discolorations and superficial blemishes were not acceptable, implying that produce with such defects could be repurposed as ingredients in foods prepared and sold in-store. These implications reflect retailers' opportunities in marketing suboptimal produce to children, who by their familial influence may also be able to get families to buy and consume suboptimal produce. The importance of familiarity in improving suboptimal food acceptance is also recognised for future research to explore.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101945
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Early online date17 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes

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This document is the author’s post-print version, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer-review process. Some differences between the published version and this version may remain and you are advised to consult the published version if you wish to cite from it.


  • Children
  • Food acceptance
  • Food appearance
  • Qualitative research
  • Suboptimal produce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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