Trimming super-size with psychology, from half-order sides to color of the plates

The Washington Post:

Call it the alter-ego of super-sizing.

Researchers infiltrated a fast-food Chinese restaurant and found up to a third of diners jumped at the offer of a half-size of the usual heaping pile of rice or noodles — even when the smaller amount cost the same.

Giant portion sizes are one of the culprits behind the epidemic of bulging waistlines, and nowhere is the portion-creep more evident than in restaurants with French fry-heavy meal deals or plates overflowing with pasta. Now scientists are tapping into the psychology of eating to find ways to trim portions without people feeling cheated — focusing on everything from the starchy sides to the color of the plates.

“The small Coke now is what used to be a large 15 years ago,” laments psychologist Janet Schwartz, a marketing professor at Tulane University who led the Chinese food study. “We should ask people what portion size they want,” instead of large being the default.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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