Portion size: A qualitative study of consumers’ attitudes toward point-of-purchase interventions aimed at portion size

Department of Health Sciences.he EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Health Education Research (Impact Factor: 1.66). 09/2009; 25(1):109-20. DOI: 10.1093/her/cyp051
Source: PubMed


This qualitative study assessed consumers' opinions of food portion sizes and their attitudes toward portion-size interventions located in various point-of-purchase settings targeting overweight and obese people. Eight semi-structured focus group discussions were conducted with 49 participants. Constructs from the diffusion of innovations theory were included in the interview guide. Each focus group was recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were coded and analyzed with Atlas.ti 5.2 using the framework approach. Results showed that many participants thought that portion sizes of various products have increased during the past decades and are larger than acceptable. The majority also indicated that value for money is important when purchasing and that large portion sizes offer more value for money than small portion sizes. Furthermore, many experienced difficulties with self-regulating the consumption of large portion sizes. Among the portion-size interventions that were discussed, participants had most positive attitudes toward a larger availability of portion sizes and pricing strategies, followed by serving-size labeling. In general, reducing package serving sizes as an intervention strategy to control food intake met resistance. The study concludes that consumers consider interventions consisting of a larger variety of available portion sizes, pricing strategies and serving-size labeling as most acceptable to implement.

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    • "schools, restaurants) or pricing strategies are also suggested (Steenhuis et al., 2009). For some foods, recommended serving sizes on food labels are acceptable interventions for consumers (Vermeer et al., 2010) and might be a reliable guide for portion size determination. In the meal planning phase it can also be helpful for consumers to use smaller plates when serving foods and to leave leftovers in the kitchen (Wansink, 2010). "
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    Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 10/2015; DOI:10.1080/10408398.2015.1073140 · 5.18 Impact Factor
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    • "Several large-scale observational studies show that humans plan the amount of food that they are going to eat in advance of eating.17, 18, 19 This appears to be the case irrespective of the type of meal, (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and it reflects a general tendency either to ‘plate clean' or at least to be unsurprised by the amount remaining at the end of a meal.20 Meal planning has been observed under natural conditions in a restaurant21 and it is also evident in comprehensive and detailed qualitative analyses of consumers' interactions with food portions.22 "
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    • "Three-dimensional food models (NASCO Company, 901 Jamesville Ave, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538) and household units (e.g., bowls, mugs, and spoons) were carefully chosen with input from local Inuit to best estimate the amount of foods and beverages consumed. Portion size was defined as the sizes in which foods are served at home and the units in which they are consumed in one sitting [56]. Data were examined by the project coordinator and if any set of data was incomplete the interviewer re-contacted the respondent to obtain the missing information. "
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