Saturday, February 18, 2012

Does Size Matter?

Mars candy is making smaller bars. No, not miniature size - they already have that. They are going to stop making their 'king size' bars that feed seven, okay are two servings each and replacing them with single portion sizes of no more than 250 calories each.

Now, you can say that this is their way of getting consumers to pay the king-size price for less product, therefore keeping their earnings on par with the current rate. Or you could say that consumers accustomed to eating the king-sized bar will start buying two at a time, adding to Mars' bottom line. You might also think changing the bar sizes will do nothing to help the growing obesity rate. On this last, I think I must disagree. I see something positive happening here. Let's take this bite by bite.

First there are the regular eaters. There are actually people in this country who buy a king size bar and can't eat the whole thing. They might save 1/2 for another day or share half with others. I don't understand 'sharing candy' very well. I usually hid my treats or bought enough so you could have your own and leave me to mine. Anyway, the normies buy a bar and eat it. The size of the bar will not cause them to buy two.

Confirmed overeaters and food addicts will buy the amount they are driven to buy - no matter what the size. As an addict and overeater, when I was actively eating candy, I was comforted by the idea that I was eating one single bar - even if it was king size. Once I read the label, I knew better, but I still bought the single big bar with the idea that I was only having one. So, while the food addict and overeater can buy additional bars, there is also the possibility they will just get the one, sometimes.

So far this change in sizes is a wash for the current generation of consumers who now actively spend money and make purchases. There will be no change for normies and perhaps a slight change in what the active food addicts will consume.

I am thinking about children. The kids currently too young to buy their own candy, too young to be eating candy, kids not yet born. They are the future target market for candy bars. If king-sized bars are not on the market and the kids do not grow up accustomed to the king sizes, this next generation will adapt to a different idea of accepted portions.

You cannot un-ring a bell. But if you change the size of the bell, you change the way it sounds and how far away it will be heard. Changing the size of the candy bars can make the next ring of the bell reverberate less through our children's waistlines.

Thank you ABC News for reporting the story the other night during my evening TV watching and thank you very much to Diane of Fit to the Finish for posting an opinion on her Facebook page, inspiring me rethink what I was going to say in a comment and instead formulate it into this post. I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to Diane's book coming on the market in April and available for pre-order through Amazon.



downsizers said...

I went to a truck to service an ATM once and the candy bars were $1.39 ea. or 2/$2. I just bought one and at the cash register the clerk reminded me that I could get 2 for the $2 - quite a savings. I told her if I bought two I would eat both of them. She was also heavy and I caught the knowing smile on her face as she rang up my one candy bar. Pricing also has a big effect on purchases as well. There was a time when I would have thought, "What a deal", and bought two. I know better now.

downsizers said...

That's truck STOP - trucks don't have ATM's.

Maren said...

I think it's a great idea to limit the serving sizes to one actual serving! ANd yes, I am sooo looking forward to Diane's book!

Cathy Yonek said...

I think it is a huge deal what the "typical" portion looks like, so I think this is a good thing. No, it won't affect people who are compulsive overeaters, but like you said it can affect future generations in a positive way.

Vickie said...

my girls split a regular size peppermint patty. Would not buy a king size anything, even to split.

maybe you said and I missed it, but curious to know how many servings were in the king size. I realize people do not LOOK and eat according to serving sizes, but would be amusing to know.

Over 40? - So What! said...

I, personally, don't eat candy bars - even the left-overs (?) on Halloween -but I see your point about the size. We should all learn to read the serving size on everything we buy since manufacturers sure like to make it look like you're not ingesting too many calories. If something has only 100 calories, but it's 2 servings, well----

Cenandra said...

I never had a problem with the size. I'd eat it king, small or middle didn't matter. I always liked telling myself the King size was the 1 serving. Sad.

So happy to not be there anymore!

Andy said...

Okay, this isn't about candy but, portion size on labels... a can of tuna is 2 1/2 servings... that surprised me. I don't know how one can be saisfied with less then 1/2 a can of tuna.

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Jane - thanks for the mention in this post. And what a great, thoughtful post. This was my feeling when I thought about it. At first, I was like "Oh yeah, the money." But later I thought, "Oh yeah, it's a good thing."

Jane Cartelli said...

Downsizer - We learn. Sometimes we have to learn the same thing over and over again but we learn.

Maren - <3

Birchgirl - I hope it does.

Vickie - Look at what I posted on 2/20/12. I researched the portion sizes at the check out line in Walmart and it was shocking.

Over 40 So What - Candy bars are beyond me too. But there was a time when they filled the space between meals (continually)

Sheri - I <3 You!

Andy - Really look at that Tuna. 1 can SAYS 2.5 servings - but when you squeeze out the liquid and weigh the tuna - how many servings is really in the can? I think it is 1.5. I stopped eating canned tuna when I found they put soy in the broth so I cannot do that experiment for you, but give it a try and tell me what you get.

Diane - It is a good thing - for the next generation it will be a good thing and they will never understand why.