Giant Grocery Portions

Published on April 19, 2009

It’s no surprise to anyone that obesity in America is getting worse every year. This animated map shows the progression in the US between 1985 and 2007, and it’s quite a depressing sight. Lots of factors are contributing to everyone’s weight gain: poor eating habits, no exercise, etc., but part of the blame certainly lies with food manufacturers. In recent times, food portions have increased by an incredible amount, and they only seem to be getting worse. Not only are the larger portions contributing to our weight gain, they are also making it much harder for people like me to shop in the grocery store.

Before I go much farther, I must confess that I’m not a big eater. Growing up, I knew guys who could eat two or three times as much as I do at each meal. And there are plenty of my peers today who can do the same thing. So I realize that I’m already starting out on the low side of the curve. However, this doesn’t change the fact that food manufacturers have gotten out of control with portion management.

Shopping for one is difficult enough to begin with, but I’ve noticed that it’s gotten more so in recent times. While at the grocery store recently, I picked up some potato chips for lunch through the week. The bag I bought had “20% more chips free,” making it even larger than the normal bag (which is a little too big to begin with). A sign below the bags of chips offered the following deal: buy 2 get 2 free. So, you have to buy four bags of chips to get a deal! Who in their right mind eats four, full-sized bags of potato chips? Even in reasonably sized families, that’s an insane number of chips to buy at once.

Similarly, doughnut manufacturer Krispy Kreme apparently no longer sells their half-dozen doughnut boxes. Instead, they offer a new box of 9. Every once in a while (maybe once every two months), I used to pick up a half-dozen doughnuts and eat them through the week with my breakfast. By the end of that week, the last doughnuts had nearly grown stale, but were still good enough to reheat. A box of 9 would certainly not last the way I eat them.

There are plenty of other examples, but these two stick out in my mind since I encountered them recently. If food manufacturers would provide smaller portions, at somewhat lower prices, I would be able to enjoy their products more often and I wouldn’t be wasting perfectly good food. As an added bonus, I wouldn’t eat as much, and would feel better as a result. Does anyone else feel the way I do?

One Comment

Gary

What you said! It’s nearly as bad buying for two.

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