Consumer understanding of food portion sizes
In 2010, safefood commissioned this study to investigate consumer understanding of food portion sizes on the island of Ireland, with a view to providing clear and practical advice about portion size for consumers. Recent dietary surveys on the island of Ireland have confirmed that large portions are associated with overeating in both adults and children.
International research, mainly conducted in the United States, has demonstrated that when adults and children are served larger portions, they consume more calories. If over time the energy (calories) consumed through food and drink is consistently greater than the energy expended through physical activity, the result is weight gain. Not only is the calorie content of the food important but so too is its nutritional quality.
Currently on the island of Ireland, there is little information on consumer understanding and behaviour around food portion sizes. With two out of every three adults currently overweight or obese, this must be addressed in order to support the development of future public health initiatives and so that portion size forms an integral part of an overall strategy to reduce levels of obesity.