Co-creation of a healthy dairy product with and for children
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Children's involvement in new product development may contribute to ensure that healthy alternatives meet their wants and needs. Co-creation is a potential approach to bridge the world of the child and the grown-up product developer. In this context, the objective of the present work was to explore the potential of a co-creation approach with children to develop a healthy dairy product. A total of 52 school-aged children (54% girls, 6–13 year old) recruited from an after-school club in Montevideo (Uruguay) participated in co-creation workshops. Two sessions were carried out. In the first session, children developed a dairy product using a set of ingredients and proposed strategies to promote their product. Children showed a high level of engagement during the activity and provided actionable ideas for product development. Three key factors drove the product formulation (familiarity, hedonics, and healthiness), whereas common communication strategies were proposed by the participants to promote their products. In the second session, children evaluated four products developed by the researchers based on children’s ideas. The products showed high overall liking scores (5.9 to 7.9) despite the inclusion of novel and healthy ingredients and the lower sugar content compared to similar commercial products available in the Uruguayan marketplace. These results show the potential of involving children in the co-creation of healthy dairy products. Considering the lack of published studies regarding the use of co-creation approaches with children in the food domain, the present work provides useful insights for the implementation of co-creation to develop innovative products with and for children.