A Matter of Taste

Student activity based on “A matter of taste” article from the Sept/Oct 2005 Our Ohio magazine.

Academic Content Standard (Social Studies Grade: 5-6): Economics – Students will explain the general relationship between supply, demand and price in a competitive market. Students should explain why competition among producers/sellers results in better customer service.

Discussion points

  • Read the article together. Identify who the producers are in the article and who the consumers are in the article.
  • Why is it important for the sellers to produce goods that consumers want and need (demand)? What goods are discussed in this article?
  • What do consumers demand when it comes to their food choices? What changes do suppliers make to encourage people to buy their food product? (ex. Healthier choices)
  • How do producers like Wendy’s know what their customers like and dislike?
  • Why do consumers pay more money for certain products (food) than other foods?
  • What are some of the changes or ideas an entrepreneur might use to convince customers to buy his or her product instead of a competitor’s product? (ex. If you were trying to eat healthy food, why would you go to Wendy’s for lunch instead of KFC?)
  • Discuss food processing and what that phrase means to the food you eat.
  • Do you read food labels to see what ingredients processed food contains?
  • What taste testing could you do to determine what products (foods) you would choose? Think about the taste and then compare it with the cost of the item. Would you still purchase the good?
  • Why is transportation of food such an important issue? Is fresh food more valued than other food products?
  • What products would you like to see offered at your local McDonald’s? If you owned a restaurant, what food would you offer (supply) to your customers?
  • Are you interested in becoming a food scientist? What do food scientists do, according to this article?

Hands on at Home

  • With the help of a friend, do some food testing at your home. Compare the tastes and costs of foods like potato chips or chocolate.
  • Read some processed food labels (foods in packages) in your kitchen. Can you identify all of the ingredients?
  • Visit your local grocer and ask where the products he or she are selling is produced, especially fresh vegetables.
  • Research where food is processed in your state. Name the companies you find.


  • Research what food scientists really do at work. Where could you go to be trained to be a food scientist?
  • Identify the chemicals mentioned in the article that help to preserve food. Why are these preservatives so important?

(*Note – many ideas for these activities came from the Ohio Farm Bureau publication, Ohio Economics, published by the Ohio Farm Bureau for use in the classroom.)

Student activity was prepared by Camille Kopczewski, who is coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Grove City. She is a former sixth grade social studies teacher for South-Western City Schools. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.