While market analysis firms do not track coffee consumption for youths younger than 18, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who drink coffee every day has doubled since 2003, from 16 percent to 31 percent, according to the National Coffee Association. By itself, caffeine is not particularly harmful. It can cause anxiety, insomnia and a handful of stomach and cardiovascular problems in some. But the main downside to caffeine is its addictive properties and the effects on the body when one stops ingesting it - effects that may be magnified in the smaller bodies of children.
What is most forgotten is that many of the coffee drinks that appeal to children - those with plenty of sugar, flavoring and cream - contain a lot of calories and fat. A 12-ounce can of Coke has 140 calories. By contrast, a 16-ounce Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream from Starbucks has 380 calories, while a 16-ounce Coffee Coolatta from Dunkin' Donuts has 210.
Steve - as we have learned in this profession, when you think you have achieved victories in some areas (i.e. the rise of organic foods, removing junk food from schools), there are always more battles to fight. This is an especially tough battle because you are fighting two biochemically addictive substances: sugar and caffeine. When you add fat to the equation, it is a potent triumvirate. Parents are not in an enviable position because their children have been watching them consume these products for years. What to do? One client seemed to have a pretty sensible solution. They do not purchase any coffee products for their children or allow it in the house. If their children choose to use their own money to buy them, and are not consumed in the house, that is their prerogative.