Study: Portion Control Top of Mind for Many Americans

The American appetite appears to be dwindling, due to individuals’ concerns for their health, according to a recent study.

The research, led by Georgetown University, revealed that 58% of Americans are eating smaller portions since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The food industry should continue to use portion control sizing, as it gives consumers enjoyment without the guilt,” noted Hank Cardello, chair of Georgetown University’s Portion Balance Coalition, in a statement. indicated in 2018 that Americans have the second-biggest appetites of any country, with an average daily intake per capita of 3,750 kilocalories; only Austria (3,800) consumed more on a daily basis. But it appears a growing number of Americans are now focusing on wellness.

The goal of Georgetown’s recent Portion Balance Attitude and Action Tracking study was to learn whether consumers have made portion-specific behavior changes post-pandemic. According to the study’s authors, the findings are clear: Americans want smaller food portions.

Consider the following statistics regarding how consumers are altering the amount they eat:

  • 50% of consumers are choosing more portion-controlled snacks, such as 100-calorie packs
  • 63% like when restaurants include calorie amounts on their menu

Georgetown conducted a similar study in 2019; the following findings compare data points between that study and the current version:

  • 45% of consumers are now buying smaller packages of food items
  • 44% are buying smaller sizes of beverages these days

“We want consumers to feel empowered to create demand and acceptance for healthier food portions,” Cardello said, “while motivating the industry to respond to this demand.”

The research also indicated that, with an eye toward their overall health and wellness, many Americans are increasingly utilizing tools like calorie counters, USDA’s MyPlate visual, and are closely checking food labels.

“The Portion Balance Coalition is working toward a food environment where everyone is able to easily choose and enjoy balanced food portions for better health,” noted Hope Freedman, program director for the coalition.

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