Observations and results
Did the kid volunteers like sourer lemonade batches most, whereas the adult volunteers did not? Did the adult volunteers prefer less sour lemonade batches?
One job food scientists can have is working at companies to help design new foods. One of the things they have to do is conduct sensory analysis, which is the scientific process of determining how people react to different foods, and then make decisions about whether or not they like them. Food scientists already know a lot about people's food preferences. For example, they know that babies usually prefer sweet foods, like applesauce and sweet potatoes, over more bitter foods, like broccoli. They also know that Americans and Europeans like mint-flavored toothpastes, while people in China and Japan prefer their toothpastes to be fruit-flavored. But what about sour flavors? There are a lot of sour candies and drinks advertised on TV, in magazines and in other places that tempt kids, but not many of those advertisements make the foods sound appealing to adults. There as a good reason for this: in general, kids really do prefer sour tastes much more than adults do. In a study similar to this activity, researchers found that over one-third of kids tested preferred the sourest food tested, whereas virtually none of the adults preferred this food.
More to explore
What are Taste Buds? from KidsHealth
A Sour Taste in Your Mouth from ScienceNews for Kids
Physiology of Taste from R. Bowen of the Colorado State University
Heightened Sour Preferences During Childhood from Gjin Gie Liem and Julie A. Mennella in the journal Chemical Senses
Do You Have the Willpower to Taste Something Sour? from Science Buddies