I’m a sucker for marketing. If we’re being honest, most of you Jerks out there are too. It’s nothing to be ashamed of (usually). It’s all about the presentation—what colors are used, clever slogans, that sort of thing.

This is why it was no surprise that so many of my friends have fallen under the spell of the adorable mini-treats at Starbucks. The line of Starbucks Petites includes cupcakes, lemon squares and cake pops–among a variety of other delicious minis. I resisted for awhile, but finally gave in when a particularly persistent friend insisted I try just one cupcake. My demise? The Carrot Cake Mini Cupcake. 190 calories of (almost) bite-size deliciousness.

That was a few weeks ago, and I had basically forgotten about it until I saw this NYT article. It seems like the minis are giving normal-sized pastries a run for their money…literally. These bite-size treats are being hailed as the answer to decreasing consumers’ guilt about choosing a less-healthy option. If people can satisfy their sweet craving while consuming less calories and spending less cash, there’s no reason not to do it. Although, using that logic we might buy multiple minis to see which is better. Sound rational? I think not.

Aesthetics play a huge role in the attraction of these tiny delights. It’s generally pretty hard to say no to cute things, especially when they remind us of fantastical concepts from our childhood. The argument could also be made that the small size makes them more attractive to indecisive individuals who can’t decide which cute cake pop or cupcake he or she wants more.

So, what’s the real attraction here? Well, they’re pretty tasty—a little too sweet at times for me, but maybe that’s why some people like them. Or maybe it’s just because they’re that damn cute.

-Erin Elzo

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