Earlier this week, McDonald’s announced they will be cutting the portion of fries that come with a Happy Meal and including a serving of fruit or vegetables with every meal. But McDonald’s isn’t the only company that might see success with a strategy of portion-reduction, as a new report reveals that consumers want smaller portions at restaurants.
In the United States, many restaurants have offered huge servings to convey a sense of value to customers. But a market research company, The NPD Group, found that 57 percent of the people they surveyed want to eat smaller portions when dinning out. The firm surveyed over 5,000 adults. Smaller portions were seen to be the most important to consumers between the ages of 35 and 45, an age when many people find it easy to gain weight.
“We were trying to understand what constitutes healthy eating or a healthy lifestyle in consumers’ minds,” Dori Hickey, NPD’s director of product management, told Nation’s Restaurant News. “What we saw was a difference in where they’ve been and where they aspire to be.”
Some restaurants have already had success by offering smaller portion sizes as an alternative to full-sized plates. For example, California Pizza Kitchen offers half-sized dishes. These might have originally been envisioned as side-dishes, but many health conscious diners order these smaller offerings as their main entree. The Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s Little Italy have also had success with small-plate options.
Restaurants that choose to down-size their offerings may even benefit customers in another way, by helping Americans to re-set their expectations of what a reasonable portion should be.
July 28th, 2011