Size matters when it comes to food

IF YOU thought a small yoghurt tub was a single serve, think again.

Many food manufacturers are using portion distortion to make products seem healthier than they really are, according to the consumer watchdog Choice.

For example, most people would presume a standard 225-gram container of Bulla Yoghurt Crunch was one serving, yet the back of the pack says it has 2.25 servings. The nutritionist Rosemary Stanton said 2.25 servings was ''the epitome of absurd. As if someone's going to leave some.''

Choice is calling for clear labels on the front of packaged foods which would translate the numerical information on the back of the pack using colours, symbols, ratings or words. It says there should be a consistent measure, such as the 100g or 100ml which is used on the back of the packs, so shoppers can compare products at a glance and find it easier to choose healthier products. Instead, many manufacturers tout the nutritional information of one serving on the front of the pack, when the container may hold several servings.

Dr Stanton says the thumbnail information on the front of packs is where consumers should ''check for the deception''.

''You look at that, and you think you aren't going to get very much of anything that's bad.''

The Choice spokeswoman, Ingrid Just, said manufacturers ''manipulate the serving size to make their products more attractive when translated into the thumbnail info panels on the front of the pack''.

Choice cites three areas where portion sizes are confusing, misleading and unrealistic. For example, a 300ml bottle of Golden Circle Healthy Life Probiotic contains 1.5 servings, though Choice says most people would ''reasonably consume'' the whole thing in one sitting.

Many manufacturers were also using different serving sizes for the same product. The recommended serving size of Kelloggs' Just Right cereal in a variety pack is 40 grams, the size of the pack, but in a different single-serve container it is 45 grams.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide