Friday, June 26, 2009

The End of 100-Calorie Packs? Why portion-controlled snacks are falling out of favor

When the marketing minds at Kraft came up with the idea to package snack foods in individual 100-calorie servings, a snack revolution was born. It seemed like a great idea at the time--consumers could have all of their favorite treats and lose weight without feeling deprived. Why skip dessert when Kraft made it so easy to indulge in a sensible, but still indulgent bag of Oreo cookies (albeit in a tiny portion and without the cream filling)? Calorie-conscious snackers rewarded Kraft's marketing ingenuity with sales that totaled more than $75 million in the first year. Other food manufacturers followed suit, and today it's easy to find 100-calorie packs of products from Planter's peanuts to Ritz crackers to Chips Ahoy! cookies. Since January 2008, 258 products making the 100-calorie claim have been introduced, but Brand Week reports that these products are falling out of favor, as evidence suggests that imposing portion control through food packaging doesn't actually promote weight loss. A study reported in the Journal of Consumer Research found that participants given 100-calorie snack packs while watching television ate significantly more than those who were given regular-sized bags of potato chips to snack from. Food analyst Marcia Mogelonsky, Ph.D., tells Brand Week that the 100-calorie packs were "a license to overeat." Portion control as a tool for weight loss may be falling out of favor according to some experts, with "satiety" taking its place as the buzzword du jour. Satiety, which comes from eating foods that are rich in fiber and protein, refers to a feeling of hunger satisfaction—something you don't get from snacking on cookies, candies and other processed treats. [source]

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