How does one cut portion size when in most of the western world portion size has grown exponentially in the last 20 or so years.
I remember when the 7-Eleven Big Gulp came on the scene in 1980 and how everyone was amazed that you could actually purchase a drink that size. It was 32 ounces back then, now you can buy a Super Big Gulp that’s a whopping 64 ounces.
No wonder there’s such a weight epidemic in many developed countries as people are constantly enticed with ever growing portions.
Here are some illustrations of just how portion sizes have changed in the last 20 years.
Over 20 years ago before the concept of the coffee house, a takeaway coffee would generally come in a 7oz/200ml Styrofoam cup, so with some sugar and cream it averaged around 85 Calories. Now a consumer can be enticed with a 16oz/470ml version made mostly with milk which can top 480 Calories depending on the drink ordered.
Twenty years ago a small pack of chips (left) was just an ounce(30g) and yielded 150 Calories. Now most packs are either 1.8oz/50g with 250 Calories (center) or 3.5oz/100g containing 500 Calories (right).
Chocolate milk used to be sold in 10oz/300ml bottles 20 years ago containing 220 Calories, but now the norm is around 20oz/600ml yielding 440 Calories.
20 years ago is was common to only get a 12oz/390ml soda from a vending machine containing 160 Calories, but today it is more common to find machines dispensing 20oz/600ml bottles giving 245 Calories.
Why has this happened?
Amanda Clark, the Author of Portion Perfection, believes that it was driven by nothing but the almighty dollar. Companies realized if they increased portion size, they could increase the cost of the item. The larger portion size would entice the customer to spend more money causing the profit margins on the product to increase a lot while the company’s expenses on marketing, design, labor etc. only increased slightly. In some cases a consumer could get 50% more product for only 16% more money. Who could resist?
Unfortunately, as these portion sizes increased so has western society’s waistline.
Please check out Amanda Clark’s book: Portion Perfection. Photos and Calorie information shown were taken from the book (with permission). Check out other nutritional resources at www.greatideas.net.au