More Men Give Their Sweet Tooth Free Rein
Young Korean men are increasingly unashamed to indulge their sweet tooth rather than drown themselves in manly liquor.
"It used to feel very uncomfortable for two men to sit in a café having a dessert," says student Lee Sang-won (26). "But not any more." And a 33-year-old office worker admits, "I need to a sweet after meals, otherwise I don't feel I've had a complete meal."
Bakery chain Paris Baguette said dessert purchases by men have risen 20 percent compared to last year. They favor cakes, macaroons and ice cream.
A straw poll of 500 men between 19 and 59 by market watcher Trend Monitor suggests that those in their 30s are the most avid dessert fans. More surprising is that 30-omething men consumed 3.2 percent more ice cream, 2.4 percent more fruit juice and 0.8 percent more desserts from street vendors than their female counterparts.
Dessert consumption among men wanes somewhat among 40-somethings but then rises again among men in their 50s. Compared to men in their 40s, those in their 50s consumed eight percent more fruit juice and 2.4 percent more ice cream.
A research institute run by university students surveyed 385 people aged 20 to 29 and found that 83.3 percent of men eat a dessert after meals even if they are full.
Patissier Lee Seung-yeon said more than 30 percent of people who take dessert-making courses at his shop are in their 30s.
According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp., the Korean dessert market, which was scaled at W800 billion in 2014, surged to W1.5 trillion last year (US$1=W1,158).
Men are often turned on to sweets by their girlfriends. Jeon Hye-joon, a 26-year-old office worker, said, "My girlfriend has a sweet tooth and I started going to cafés with her to eat desserts, and now I'm the one making straight for the dessert menu."
Doctors say that the short-term sugar high is just as addictive as alcohol, so it is not surprising that once men are freed from the shackles of gender stereotypes they cultivate their sweet tooth as assiduously as they used to drink liquor before dire health warnings put them off.