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Package size and manufacturer-recommended serving size of sweet beverages: a cross-sectional study across four high-income countries

  • Maartje P Poelman (a1), Helen Eyles (a2), Elizabeth Dunford (a3), Alyssa Schermel (a4), Mary R L’Abbe (a4), Bruce Neal (a3), Jacob C Seidell (a1), Ingrid HM Steenhuis (a1) and Cliona Ni Mhurchu (a2)...

Abstract

Objective

To assess the mean package size and manufacturer-recommended serving size of sweet beverages available in four high-income countries: Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

Design

Cross-sectional surveys.

Setting

The two largest supermarket chains of each country in 2012/2013.

Subjects

Individual pack size (IPS) drinks (n 891) and bulk pack size (BPS) drinks (n 1904).

Results

For all IPS drinks, the mean package size was larger than the mean serving size (mean (sd)=412 (157) ml and 359 (159) ml, respectively). The mean (sd) package size of IPS drinks was significantly different for all countries (range: Australia=370 (149) ml to New Zealand=484 (191) ml; P<0·01). The mean (sd) package size of Dutch BPS drinks (1313 (323) ml) was significantly smaller compared with the other countries (New Zealand=1481 (595) ml, Australia=1542 (595) ml, Canada=1550 (434) ml; P<0·01). The mean (sd) serving size of BPS drinks was significantly different across all countries (range: Netherlands=216 (30) ml to Canada=248 (31) ml; P<0·00). New Zealand had the largest package and serving sizes of the countries assessed. In all countries, a large number of different serving sizes were used to provide information on the amount appropriate to consume in one sitting.

Conclusions

At this point there is substantial inconsistency in package sizes and manufacturer-recommended serving sizes of sweet beverages within and between four high-income countries, especially for IPS drinks. As consumers do factor serving size into their judgements of healthiness of a product, serving size regulations, preferably set by governments and global health organisations, would provide consistency and assist individuals in making healthier food choices.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Email m.p.poelman@uu.nl

References

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Package size and manufacturer-recommended serving size of sweet beverages: a cross-sectional study across four high-income countries

  • Maartje P Poelman (a1), Helen Eyles (a2), Elizabeth Dunford (a3), Alyssa Schermel (a4), Mary R L’Abbe (a4), Bruce Neal (a3), Jacob C Seidell (a1), Ingrid HM Steenhuis (a1) and Cliona Ni Mhurchu (a2)...

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