A lick-your-foil mentality?
According to Brian Wansink, larger package sizes contribute to us eating more than we think we are. To demonstrate, he gave moviegoers either a medium or large popcorn. Those given the large bucket ate more but reported eating the same amount as those given the medium bucket, suggesting that larger packages cause us to eat more without realizing it! Wansink cites many possible reasons for this, one of which is a clean-your-plate mentality.
Does package size influence consumption at the FeelGood kiosk? Our grilled cheese does not come in a package per se; but our bread can be seen as a package for cheese and other fix-ins. Our bread varies in size quite a bit depending on the type and the portion of the loaf it came from.
Of the customers that stick around the kiosk to enjoy their sandwich, most of them finish, regardless of the size sandwich they received. A clean-your-plate, or in this case lick-your-foil, mentality may be at work: eaters stop when their sandwich is gone rather than upon feeling full.
Some customers seem to be aware of the influence of package size. Several customers have asked me for smaller bread. Perhaps they are aware that by receiving a smaller “package,” they will likely consume less grilled cheese. However, their true motivation could lie elsewhere: they may know that, if given a larger sandwich, they would be unable to finish it; their request may come from a desire for less food waste rather than for cognitive control.
What does this mean for the health of our customers? That depends on the customer! For most, even our largest sandwiches are an appropriate portion for lunch. And, if the sandwich is loaded with plenty of veggies and on whole wheat bread, it’s a nutritious one at that!