Background: Based on the documented effect that people like products better if self-crafted (so-called IKEA effect), we hypothesized that (1) children increase vegetable liking and consumption if they create a vegetable snack themselves; and that (2) increased consumption and liking is mediated by perceptions of effort and pride.
Method: A between-subjects experiment was conducted with children aged four to six at an after school day care. Children in the experimental condition (N=40) engaged in a creative task crafting a peacock with snack carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers following an example peacock. Children in the control condition (N=42) did the same exercise, but with non-food objects. After the crafting task, children ate snack vegetables ad libitum and indicated liking for the vegetable peacock created by themselves (experimental condition) or created by the researchers (control condition). All children indicated perceptions of effort and pride in creating the peacock.
Findings: Girls, but not boys, liked the vegetables marginally significantly better if they created the snack themselves (p = .06). However, no main effect of the vegetable snack creation on consumption was observed. In the experimental condition, perceived pride was (marginally) significantly associated with higher vegetable liking (p = .054) and consumption (p = .04), whereas perceived effort did not significantly affect vegetable liking and consumption.
Discussion: Results suggest that self-creating vegetable snacks does not increase vegetable consumption, but does increase vegetable liking among girls. Particularly, feeling proud of one’s food creation, rather than effort dedicated to the creation seems responsible for the effect.