Portion Distortion

The British Heart Foundation recently commissioned research (PDF, 2MB) looking at how current portion sizes of 245 food products compare with the UK government publication Food Portion Size’s, released in 1993.

It found that although the stated portion sizes of some products such as cornflakes and cheddar cheese are the same today as they were 20 years ago and some such as ice cream are actually lower, the majority of products have portion sizes which are substantially higher. An average individual shepherd’s pie ready meal has doubled in size, individual chicken curry ready meals are 53% larger, a standard portion of peanuts has increased by 80% and a portion of crisps from a family pack is now 50% larger.

The report also found that there was huge variation in portion size between different brands. For example a particular brand of a ready meal may be twice the size of a 1993 portion while other brands are smaller or larger to varying degrees.

Portion size information has become inconsistent and misleading. Currently the UK has not updated their 1993 guidelines and there is no legislation with regard portion sizes that manufacturers have to adhere to.

To ensure that portion information on the new front of pack labelling system is effective it is important that these guidelines are updated so consumers can rely on food labels being consistent and know exactly what they are getting in terms of portion size.

Resources

Posted: 24/10/2013 09:53:23 by Laura Keaver


 

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