Children make up a significant portion of the consumers of confectionery. The variety of sweets available is seemingly endless: candies, baked goods, ice cream, drinks, candied fruits, jams, and jellies – the list goes on. These treats contain varying amounts of sugar or other sweeteners to appeal to younger generations.
However, as adults, we notice that our desire for sweets gradually decreases. While we still enjoy a nice bar of chocolate, a serving of ice cream, or a mouth-watering slice of cake, we no longer crave them as much as children do.
Science can provide insight into why this is the case.
Recent studies suggest that the main reason why children have such a strong craving for sweets is not just because they taste great. Rather, it is an integral part of their development.
A study conducted in the United States aimed to investigate how a young person’s craving for sweets may be related to their physical growth and development. The study examined 143 children aged 11 to 15.
Sweetness is associated with calorie content and carbohydrate-rich foods that provide the body with energy. Studies show that the demands of accelerated growth and development lead to an increased demand for “fuel” and encourage young children’s bodies to seek out the calories of fatty, sweet foods.
The researchers divided the 143 children into two groups based on their preference for sweet foods. Those with a lower preference for sweet foods showed slower bone growth, while those with a higher preference for sweets showed higher rates of bone growth. Studies have also shown that as a child’s growth slows down, their craving for sweets also decreases.
While the researchers did not conclusively establish this, they suggested it as a direction for further research. Providers and parents do not need special research to know that young children have a strong craving for sweets. While the “adult” market for sweets, candies, cakes, ice cream, and other sweet treats is large, the children’s market is even bigger and continues to grow. Children’s tastes are becoming more refined, with an increasing demand for new flavors, shapes, and varieties of chocolate, candies, and all sweets. One only needs to look at the shelves in their local supermarket to see this trend.