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Sizing up the effect of portion size on consumption: A meta-analytic review

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2014, 00:00 authored by N Zlatevska, Chris DubelaarChris Dubelaar, S Holden
Food marketing is facing increasing challenges in using portion size (e.g., “supersizing”) as a marketing tool.
Marketers have used portion size to attract customers and encourage purchase, but social agencies are
expressing concern that larger portion sizes encourage greater consumption, which can cause excessive
consumption and obesity. This article addresses two questions that are central to this debate: (1) How much effect
does portion size have on consumption? and (2) Are there limits to this effect? A meta-analytic review reveals that,
for a doubling of portion size, consumption increases by 35% on average. However, the effect has limits. An
extended analysis shows that the effect of portion size is curvilinear: as portions become increasingly larger, the
effect diminishes. In addition, although the portion-size effect is widespread and robust across a range of individual
and environmental factors, the analysis shows that it is weaker among children, women, and overweight
individuals, as well as for nonsnack food items and in contexts in which more attention is given to the food being
eaten.

History

Journal

Journal of marketing

Volume

78

Issue

3

Pagination

140 - 154

Publisher

American Marketing Association

Location

New York, N.Y.

ISSN

1547-7185

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2014, The American Marketing Association