It turns out there's a cheaper, low tech solution to increasing vegetable consumption in kids. This week in JAMA, a psychologist, an economist, a marketing professor and two nutritionists
Does your kid's lunch tray look like this....
So what did they find? On the positive side, the percentage of children scooping green beans and carrots into those compartments went up from 6-12% to 15-37%, and overall consumption increased modestly. On the downside, a lot of the kids left their veggies uneaten (in fact, more carrots were wasted in the photograph group), and even with the overall increase, consumption still did not meet government recommendations. The study was also performed over a mere two days. Kids will figure out in no time that no one's going to punish them if they scoop pudding into a green bean compartment.
As for me, I'll keep waiting for that magic bullet. To the marketing geniuses at Givaudan: hurry up, rechristen your license-plate chemical "Flavia," and release it to the general public. And one more favor, if you please: Publish a study showing your bitter blocker won't make my daughter grow a third eyeball.*
*What's more likely is that she would grow more bitter taste receptors in response to chronic blockade. (That's the mechanism by which people become tolerant to narcotics or alcohol). If she were to suddenly stop using the chemical, she would be more sensitive to bitterness than ever before.