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In the late 90’s and early 2000s, the way to lose weight was with elimination diets. It was all about the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet and the fat-free diet. People were swearing off carbs and fat to shed unwanted pounds.

Unless you are accessing food allergies, completely eliminating a food group is not attainable, and most importantly, not healthy. It can cause food nutrient deficiency, osteoporosis and immune problems.

The dieting craze now is about portion control- eating less of everything. Which meanshigh fats, carbohydrates and even sweets are welcomed back in your home, but this time, with a measuring cup handy. Not only is this a healthier way to live, it’s an easier way to live. You won’t go through life feeling deprived and craving the things you love (which always results in a large amount of indulgence).

Over the past year articles, editorials and research reports have covered the growing trend of portion control. An article from the November issue of Baking Management, focused on some of the statistics regarding smaller serving sizes. In the article, “Everything in Moderation,” data cited from Mintel Reports and Infoscan Reviews concluded that the  cause of change in consumer behavior is due to customers seeking more healthy alternatives and the economic recession.

About six years ago , the 100 – calorie pack trend hit the shelves. In 2004 Kraft Foods Inc.’s Nabisco brand launched 100-Calorie Packs of some of its most popular cookies and crackers.Our favorite snacks were divided in to bags where we could enjoy what we loved without consuming the calories. But let’s be honest, how many people really only ate one? “In a 2011 survey, market research provider Mintel, Chicago, asked consumers which attributes are important to them in ready-to-eat baked products. While 27 percent seek out single-serving options, 18 percent look for reduced-calorie packs and 17 percent look for 100-calorie options. This could indicate that today’s consumers are placing more emphasis on moderation than calorie counting, says Carla Dobre-Chastain, senior food analyst for Mintel Reports.”

Due to this change in diet, large portions are beginning to look wasteful. As most American consumers are living in smaller households, purchasing a full cake for instance, will most likely be wasted or thrown away. As most American consumers are living in smaller households, purchasing a full cake for instance, will most likely be wasted or thrown away- which adds to the drive of smaller pre-portioned desserts.

Manufacturers and bakers have tackled this trend by providing products that statisfy small portions, health and convenience. But it is clear, that to succeed one has to control their will power. Products being sold as “one serving” size can only make it easier. I’m curious to know, if this trend will fall in to the restaurant industry? and how will chefs tackle it?

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