Skip to content

Consumer understanding of food portion sizes

Project Reference: 07-2010

Status: Completed

Commencement Date: October, 2010

Project Duration: 36 months


This project aims to address the call for urgent and concerted action on the part of health professionals, industry, government departments, workplaces, schools and the general public on the escalating rates of obesity on the island of Ireland - if the problem is to be attenuated and reversed.

However, given that established obesity is largely immutable to remedial action, there is an urgent need to focus attention on those environmental factors, including portion size, that are amenable to preventive action. Simply educating consumers about what foods to eat, or not to eat is clearly not enough; an equally important challenge is to get consumers to appreciate the importance of and act on the quantity of food being consumed. Currently, however, on the island there is a paucity of data on consumer understanding and behaviour around portion size, a gap which needs to be addressed in order to initiate clear and meaningful practical advice about portion sizes that will resonate with consumers.

Principal Contractor(s):

Prof Barbara Livingstone, University of Ulster, Coleraine


Single supplier



Portion sizes

Peer Reviews:

LE McGuffin, JMW Wallace, TA McCaffrey, RK Price and MBE Livingstone. Family eating out-of-home: a review of nutrition and health policies. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2013) 72, 126-139

LE McGuffin, RK Price, L McAdam, M Parker, TA McCaffrey, JMW Wallace and MBE Livingstone How healthy are children’s menus on the island of Ireland? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2013) 72 (OCE3), E171 –

RK Price, LE McGuffin, JMW Wallace, TA McCaffrey, and MBE Livingstone. Family out-of-home eating in times of economic stress; an exploration of parental behaviour and attitudes. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2012) 71 (OCE2), E80 

Safefood logo

The site content is redirecting to the NI version.