Leisure and hospitality marketing: A new target demographic for all-you-can-eat restaurants?

A new study confirms teenage boys eat more. A lot more.

A new study confirms that boys eat more than girls. And teenage boys in late puberty can easily consume a 2,000 calorie lunch, equal to the total daily nutritional needs of kids their age.

If you’re doing leisure marketing to big eaters, we may have just discovered a new audience for you:  teenage boys.

New research supports observation that teenage boys can eat a lot.

Mothers of teenage boys have always known that their sons have huge appetites.  Now there’s new scientific evidence that helps explain why.  This week, researchers from the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development released a study Puberty and Observed Energy Intake:  Boy Can They Eat!

The study found that boys eat more than girls the same age, and that when they reached late puberty, their average lunchtime intake reached nearly 2,000 calories. Which is equal to their total daily caloric needs.

In an experiment that involved 200 kids ages 8-17, researchers found that:

  • Boys routinely ate more than girls the same age.
  • Boys in their mid-teens ate the most.
  • Boys in their mid-teens downed an average of 2,000 lunch calories.

Puberty to blame for excesses.

The study found that  while boys 10-13 ate more than their female counterparts, the increase in calories as they got older coincided with late puberty.

  • Boys usually hit their growth spurt at this time.
  • They need the extra calories to put on height and muscle mass.

Girls, on the other hand, showed their biggest increases in eating between the ages 10-13. Again, the researchers found that this coincided with the growth spurts girls have in early to mid-puberty.

If you’re doing leisure marketing to these segments:

  • Create a promotion or menu just for this age group of boys.
  • Emphasize the size of your portions in that promotion.
  • Include boys of this age in the visuals of your advertising, so they can see that your brand welcomes them.
  • Of course you must be careful not to encourage long-term overeating, as some health authorities blame childhood obesity in part on the rise of the QSR industry.

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