Depicted serving size: cereal packaging pictures exaggerate serving sizes and promote overservingReport as inadecuate




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BMC Public Health

, 17:169

Energy balance-related behaviors

Abstract

BackgroundExtensive work has focused on the effects of nutrition label information on consumer behavior on the one hand, and on the effects of packaging graphics on the other hand. However, little work has examined how serving suggestion depictions - graphics relating to serving size - influence the quantity consumers serve themselves. The current work examines the prevalence of exaggerated serving size depictions on product packaging study 1 and its effects on food serving in the context of cereal study 2.

MethodsStudy 1 was an observational field survey of cereal packaging. Study 2 was a mixed experimental cross-sectional design conducted at a U.S. university, with 51 student participants. Study 1 coded 158 US breakfast cereals and compared the serving sizes depicted on the front of the box with the suggested serving size stated on the nutrition facts panel. Study 2 measured the amount of cereal poured from exaggerated or accurate serving size depictions. Study 1 compared average servings via t-tests. Study 2 used a mixed model with cereal type as the repeated measure and a compound symmetry covariance matrix.

ResultsStudy 1 demonstrated that portion size depictions on the front of 158 cereal boxes were 64.7% larger 221 vs. 134 calories than the recommended portions on nutrition facts panels of those cereals. Study 2 showed that boxes that depicted exaggerated serving sizes led people to pour 17.8% more cereal compared to pouring from modified boxes that depicted a single-size portion of cereal matching suggested serving size. This was 42% over the suggested serving size.

ConclusionsBiases in depicted serving size depicted on cereal packaging are prevalent in the marketplace. Such biases may lead to overserving, which may consequently lead to overeating. Companies should depict the recommended serving sizes, or otherwise indicate that the depicted portion represents an exaggerated serving size.

KeywordsServing size Consumption norms Product packaging Product images An erratum to this article is available at http:-dx.doi.org-10.1186-s12889-017-4185-z.





Author: Aner Tal - Stina Niemann - Brian Wansink

Source: https://link.springer.com/







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