We associate the term “supersize’ with the portions at fast food restaurants, and the 2004 documentary by Morgan Spurlock, Super Size Me., but are the portions we are consuming and waste becoming supersized?
In the early 2000’s health officials raised the alarm about the correlation of increased portion sizes and the increase of obesity. We are now become more aware of food waste issues as well.
North Americans spend nearly half their food budget, and consume one-third of daily calories, from foods prepared outside of home where portion sizes have increased greatly.
Doctor Lisa Young and other researchers also point out shoppers are also confused about appropriate serving sizes. The current labelling on food products are often out of date and no longer depict realistic serving sizes.
To hold our supersize servings, plates have increased in size. Grandma’s china dishes of the 1960 with plates of an average of 9 inch diameter must be replaced with newer plates that are 11 to 12 inches in diameter.
Consumers frequently complain about purchases being over-packaged. Today, an average person living in Western Europe or North America consumes 100 kilograms of plastic each year, mostly in the form of packaging. According to the United Nations Environmental Program, between 22 percent and 43 percent of the plastic used worldwide is disposed of in landfills.
In 1960 Barbie dolls were packaged in small boxes with cellophane windows and while today’s doll travels the same distance the packaging has drastically increased.
The original concept behind packaging was to protect the product from damage and to aid storage and transportation. Today much more is involved in the careful design of a product package; it is now a marketing tool to motivate us to buy the merchandise.