Package Size, Portion Size, Serving Size...Market Size: The Unconventional Case for Half-Size Servings

Marketing Science, 31:1, 54-57, 2012

8 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2014

Date Written: February 1, 2012


Public policy officials are questioning whether companies should be more responsive in helping control obesity. With their concern comes the potential threat of taxes, fines, restrictions, and legislation. Being the tobacco industry of the new millennium is not a trivial fear of leading packaged goods companies and restaurants (Wansink and Huckabee 2005). The food industry’s response to these threats appears to be evolving through three phases: (1) denial, (2) appealing to consumer sovereignty, and (3) developing win-win opportunities. In the first phase, many food companies denied their role in obesity by noting that rising obesity can also be associated with rising levels of inactivity. The contention is that if the food industry is to be blamed for obesity, so are automobiles, cable TV, video games, remote controls, elevators, and the Internet. In the second phase, food companies appealed to consumer sovereignty — calling for moderation and choice. In this phase, many companies customized current offerings (became hamburgers without the burger) and advocated an increase in activity. The third phase of response to these allegations involves developing profitable win-win solutions to help consumers better control what and how much they eat. These solutions offer a wide range of profitable segmentation and revenue opportunities for companies. One of these may be in the form of single- serve packaging, which has been shown to reduce how much people eat by an estimated 25.2% (75 calories) per snacking occasion (Wansink et al. 2011) A9 e.g., veggie burgers.

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian, Package Size, Portion Size, Serving Size...Market Size: The Unconventional Case for Half-Size Servings (February 1, 2012). Marketing Science, 31:1, 54-57, 2012, Available at SSRN:

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