IGD publishes guide for portion sizes

By Dan Colombini contact

- Last updated on GMT

Many food and drink businesses are already taking significant steps to make their products healthier, through reformulation, labelling and innovation.
Many food and drink businesses are already taking significant steps to make their products healthier, through reformulation, labelling and innovation.

Related tags: Finance, Nutrition

Research and training charity IGD has published a new guide for food businesses to help them review and set portion sizes.

With 78% of consumers asking for products to be made healthier without compromising on taste, the guide identifies opportunities to reduce portions where appropriate, to help consumers lower their calorie intake.

The guide has been developed following extensive consultation with industry and is based on qualitative consumer research on eating out, on-the-go and in the home. Using three different scenarios, the guidance offers step-by-step support for companies looking to downsize products, as well as set the portion size for a new product and review portion information on labels of multi-serve products.

“We know that portion reduction is a really important topic for consumers,”​ said Hannah Pearse, head of nutrition and scientific affairs at IGD.

Obesity

“Our research shows that 88% of shoppers want to improve their diet in some way, and that one in five of those looking to eat more healthily are trying to eat smaller portions. With obesity in the UK at an all-time high, we want to help companies reduce portion sizes without compromising on shopper satisfaction.

“Many food and drink businesses are already taking significant steps to make their products healthier, through reformulation, labelling and innovation.

“However, identifying opportunities to reduce portion size can be complicated, which is why we have been working with industry on comprehensive guidance to make the process simpler and more consistent. Today’s guidance is intended as another tool to support companies’ strategies to meet national public health targets and reduce calorie intake.”

IGD’s research found many consumers remained unaware that portion information was available on-pack, while those who were aware often struggled to interpret the information correctly.

Public health targets

Portion size can often be an emotive issue for consumers, but IGD’s research showed that many were open to the idea of reducing portion sizes. As part of the research, all products and categories were considered, but the research focused on six key categories, which are used by Government to set public health targets.

Pearse added: “As the Government continues to focus on improving the health of the nation, and particularly reducing childhood obesity, portion reduction will play a key role. Our guidance offers a consistent approach for businesses, which should make the process of setting and reviewing portion sizes much simpler to manage.

“Our research clearly shows that consumers are open to portion size reduction, but obesity is complex and there is no single solution or sector that can address it on their own. Everyone has a role to play on this journey, so we’re looking forward to opening up discussions with industry and other stakeholders about how to put this guidance into practice.”

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