Post from guest blogger, Jenny Arthur BA (Hons) MSc RNutr, Nutrition and Marketing Consultant.
In the press this week Dr Carrie Ruxton, Dietitian and Health Writer has been advocating reducing portion sizes of treats like chocolate and confectionary instead of reformulating products. I must say I do agree with her. Who is going to indulge with a low fat chocolate bar, certainly not me! There is a lot of talk about portion size and is it the cause of the obesity crisis or the lack of physical activity?
My 8 year old twin girls and I were in Burger King this week; yes Burger King as a treat! I ordered two kids meals and the man at the counter asked me if I wanted regular fries instead of children’s ones, I think my face must have said it all as he said 'that’s a no then'! Why would you offer a child a regular adult size portion of fries when you have child portions?!
Portion sizes over the last 20 years have increased dramatically with often a doubling in the amount of calories eaten. Take a packet of crisps, a standard bag 20 years ago was 25g or 134 calories. Today, a standard bag of crisps is 50g and 268 calories, who would be able to resist not eating the whole bag! There is a correlation between increasing portion sizes and the size of people's waistlines in the UK, over the last two decades.
In addition to this, people are also using more energy saving devices and doing less exercise, for a variety of reasons. People like to think that around the age of 30 their metabolism starts to slow down; however in reality it is more to do with the fact that people do less physical activity as they have less time to exercise, owing to working longer hours and often starting a family can have a huge impact on being able play sport.
Healthier product trends...
Therefore, the trend for healthier products is set to continue as people need to eat fewer calories as they are expending less energy. In addition, the Government's Responsibility Deal is ensuring that retailers and manufacturers, who have signed up, are pledging to make their entire product ranges healthier.
Consumers are looking for nutrient dense foods to provide the biggest bang for their buck! It is Important to look at where a product fits into the daily diet and the number of calories that should be contributed by a particular food. Consumers also want to make eating more healthily easy and convenient.
Personally I think it’s all about eating a bit less and moving a bit more.
Visit Jenny Arthur's website for information on nutrition and market trends, nutrition and health strategy, product and recipe development, and consumer communications.