Marketing Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

International Journal of Obesity



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This paper uses the frameworks and evidence from marketing and behavioral economics to highlight the opportunities and barriers for portion control in food service environments. Applying Kahneman’s ‘thinking fast and slow’ concepts, it describes 10 strategies that can be effective in ‘tricking’ the consumer’s fast cognitive system to make better decisions and in triggering the slow cognitive system to help prevent the fast system from making bad decisions. These strategies include shrinking defaults, elongating packages, increasing the visibility of small portions, offering more mixed virtue options, adding more small sizes, offering ‘right-sized’ standard portions, using meaningful size labels, adopting linear pricing, using temporal landmarks to push smaller portions and facilitating pre-commitment. For each of these strategies, I discuss the specific cost and revenue barriers that a food service operator would face if the strategy were adopted.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit


health care economics, obesity, public health



Date Posted: 15 June 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.