The relentless march of portion sizes..

If you were at our Social Media conference last week, hope you enjoyed it.

Food Portions

What's a portion? Would you like another portion? Do you have a kid's portion? There's a cooking proverb which goes something like "The first bite is taken with the eyes"...which is interesting if a little spooky at the same time.

a small plate beside a large plate

In fact, there's some truth in it. If you look at the picture above, you might think the portion on the left was bigger.  In reality, it's the same sized portion of food - it's the difference in plate sizes which fools our eyes and therefore our brains.

I got thinking about food and food portions by a comment from a colleague recently - she wondered how our perception of food portions have changed over time and what were once "big foods" appeared to have shrunk. To illustrate her point, she used the example of a well-known hamburger.

And when I thought about it, I knew she was on to something there.

I can remember the first time I ate one of these burgers - I was 13, it was my birthday and I was being treated to one in a fast food restaurant  - I remember thinking "surely I won't fit such a big piece of food into my gob!" (Feel free to insert your own gag here about me and my big mouth)

Back to portion sizes.

When I look at that same burger now, I would probably consider it a tiddler. That's because my perception of what the norm is has changed. And because our food portions are getting bigger. 

We've previously done some campaign work encouraging consumers to ask for smaller portions when eating out. No tricks or gimmicks but just the kind of straightforward, practical advice that we're known for.

I saw a poster recently advertising a "foot long sub". As in short for "submarine" When our food starts getting described in those size terms, I start to get worried.

To give you a helping hand our Director of Human Health and Nutition Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan has put together a short video with tips for choosing the right portion sizes


Posted: 14/09/2010 15:48:09 by Colman Kelly
Filed under: Food, Portion sizes

About Me

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Colman Kelly
Hi, I’m Dermot Moriarty and I’m the communications manager for safefood. My background is in advertising & public relations and I work on our awareness campaigns, promotional activities and market research. I’m also an occasional blogger. In my spare time, I’m a fan of history books, sport and cooking (though not all at the same time) and am trying to get back into running. I live in Co. Dublin with my wife and two young boys who are growing up way too fast.