Friday, January 9, 2009

The economy and portion sizes

I've seen a whole lot of different approaches to addressing the large portion sizes on the American plate. But I'm starting to think we missed something that could really work:

"The economy, stupid!"

With our current economic downturn, manufacturers are trying to maintain their profits while the cost of manufacturing increases. They know that if they simply hike up the costs, people will stop buying. So I have noticed more and more manufacturers resort to reducing the quantity of their product while trying to make it look like it's the same amount it's always been. (for some great examples, check out Restaurants are also doing the same. Today, my husband and I went to a pancake place and were quite surprised that the pancakes had shrunk at least an inch. Given we hadn't been in a few years, the difference was very noticeable. Nonetheless, most products I see this happening to are products we don't consume or need on a regular basis. Or, at least, they aren't products that contribute much to my health anyway. So less is more when less costs more.

I wonder how this, as well as the trend to eat more home-cooked meals, will impact food consumption in the overall population. And if this persists, I wonder if people will start getting used to eating less of these foods, and maybe (just maybe) they will take other steps toward healthier living.

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