Wyman's of Maine
Kid Kritics Approved Products
Kid Kritics FAQ - Healthier Foods that Taste Good
Why was the Kid Kritics Approved Seal created?
When Ellen and Sally were writing their book, Are Your Kids Running on Empty?, they realized moms and dads wanted to serve healthier foods to their family but did not know what to buy that their kids would eat. This program was created to make it easy to pick healthier foods that taste good!
How do you determine which foods are healthier?
The Family Food Experts Ingredient Standards Board was formed. It is comprised of noted health professionals that include Physicians, a Child Psychologist, Doctors of Naturopathy, an Oriental Medical Doctor, Nurses, a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionists. They set the standards food, drinks, supplements and recipes must meet before they can be recommended to families. (Please look for the Ingredient Standards List Tab on this website.)
How do you know if kids will eat these healthier foods?
The Kid Kritics blind taste-test these chosen foods, drinks, supplements and recipes. A blind taste-test is one where the kids are not told what they are tasting. Everything is served to them on a numbered plate or cup. There are no decision influences driven from packaging, manufacturing or food identities. Their answers tell us whether they will eat or not eat it.
What questions do you ask the Kid Kritics to answer at a taste test?
These have to answer in this order:
1. Does it Look Good?
2. Does it Smell Good?
3. Does it Taste Good?
4. Do you want someone to Buy, Serve or Make it for you?
5. Rate it 1 to 3 (Three is the best.)
Their answers tell the story very quickly. The few borderline results are taste-tested again with another group of kids.
Does that mean the Kid Kritics have the final vote on whether a product, food, supplement, or recipe is awarded their Seal of Approval?
Yes. Only the kids make this final decision.
What happens to the products and recipes that fail?
The manufacturer is given a full report of the kids’ opinions and feedback. Sometimes Ellen and Sally are asked to help in reformulation of products. Recipes are rewritten. New improved versions have to go through the test taste process again. Failing products identities are kept confidential.
Who are the Kid Kritics?
These are boys and girls, ages 5-14 years, from multiple cultures who are gathered in a group, usually in youth organizations – sometimes in schools.
How many kids taste test a product?
As many as 350 kids have taste-tested a product. Ellen and Sally have found that whether the number is over a 100 or 25, the results are almost the same. Experience has proven 30 kids to be the ideal number. The taste test is more manageable and there is time for good feedback and discussion which includes educating the kids about the value of healthier foods.
Kid Kritics Taste Tests are educational?
Yes. Ellen and Sally feel it is very important to take this opportunity to demonstrate and educate kids about what makes foods healthy and unhealthy, and, why it makes a difference in their success with their goals – their dreams – their passions.
How do you keep the kids from influencing each other with their answers?
Of course this is a challenge. The rules are no talking or making faces while going through the process of answering the questions. They know we will talk about each product right afterwards. The kids are also told that the only wrong answers are those copied from their neighbors. Their “Yes or No” answers have to be their opinion only. Kids like having this sense of authority. Also, they know the best behaved will get a food prize at the end of the taste test.
How many items do the Kid Kritics taste test?
From four to eight items are served at one taste test. This allows the amount of time needed for the kids to do a good job and then share their opinions and feedback in the hour we have with them.
What do you do about food allergies and sensitivities?
Before the taste test begins, the kids are asked if they have food allergies and sensitivities. In addition, their youth organization leaders are kept informed and let us know - we double check with them before serving.
How do you keep the flavors from each product or recipe served from getting mixed together?
Every boy and girl is given a bottle of water and is instructed to take a good sip after each taste, swish it around in their mouth and then swallow it. Thus, they are taught to cleanse their palate. Also, every taste test menu is carefully planned to prevent flavors from clashing.
Do you do just cookies at one taste test and breads at another?
No. The taste test menus include a good protein and carbohydrate mix of foods, drinks and supplements that complement each other. Food categories are mixed.
What to you do with the kids who won’t taste something?
They are all told they have to take at least a bite in order to answer the questions. Otherwise they can’t be a Kid Kritic. Some need to be encouraged. Many are pleasantly surprised after they brave a taste. They know they do not have to like what is served to them - their opinions are all valid as long as they try it. Those who refuse are excused from the process. Few are willing to leave - they want to stay and be a Kid Kritic.
Do kids really care about healthier foods?
Over and over and over again, the kids remind Ellen and Sally that kids want to eat healthier foods that taste good. They are thrilled to learn that what they like can be good for them. Kids know the truth about Junk Food. Given a tasty alternative, they’ll choose it.
What has surprised you the most about the Kid Kritics?
Kids love HOT Spicy food. Hot is a big hit with them! They will drink lots of water and fan their faces between bites and then ask for more! Kids like flavorful food. They get tired of bland. Do not underestimate kids’ taste buds.
Do these kids get rewards for taste-testing?
Each receives a Kid Kritics Approved Seal sticker – they wear them with pride! We always have some extra product to give away as prizes at the end. They have to answer questions about the information we shared with them during the taste test – and – the best behaved also get first pick among the prizes!