Saturday Candy

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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The results also prompted the Swedish government to introduce “Saturday candy,” which remains a Swedish custom. National marketing campaigns encouraged parents to allow children to consume candy once a week, rather than spreading their consumption out over several days. As a result, Swedes eat 17.9 kilograms of candy per capita each year, an amount second only to the Danes. The Swedes’ excessive sweet tooth for candy is particularly noticeable among the younger generation: the average teenager today consumes candy three to five times a week, and among the general population candy constitutes an estimated quarter of the average weekend energy intake. In light of these statistics, and with the intention to improve overall population health, the Swedish government is considering reinforcing the Saturday candy tradition to prevent the current harmful consumption of candy several times a week. Critics are skeptical of this approach and find the pervasive “eat as much as you like, once a week” mantra harmful to public health. Instead, they suggest a 10 kronor ceiling on the amount of candy that can be consumed once a week, a constraint that would place Sweden at the average candy consumption level of the European Union—7.5 kilograms per capita per year.