Fast food serve size up

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files

Alarming research shows New Zealand fast food chains have been increasing their serving sizes.

A University of Auckland study looked at almost 5500 fast food products across 12 food groups at 10 major fast food chains between 2012 and 2016.

Across all products, researchers found a 5% increase in serving size, a 6% climb in energy density, a 14% jump in energy per serving, and a 12% increase in sodium per serving.

The serving size, energy per serving and sodium per serving had gone up in desserts and pizzas. Sodium density, energy per serving and sodium per serving had gone up in sandwiches and salads.

But Restaurant Brands general manager of marketing Geraldine Oldham said the company, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jnr and Starbucks, had not increased the size of meals and was working to make them healthier.

"We have made significant changes to the nutritional composition of our products, including reducing sodium and sugar. Since 2012 we have reduced the salt level in our burger buns by 24%, which meets the Heart Foundation's guide of 400mg,'' he said.

"In the KFC Colonel burger, the amount of sugar has gone from 11.7g per serve in 2011 to 7.1g per serve and salt has dropped from 1111mg per serve down to 830mg per serve.''

She said their food was meant to be eaten as an occasional treat rather than every day.

Asian fast food, however, saw a significant decrease in serving size and energy per serving over the five years of the study, researchers said.

The research follows a University of Otago report that revealed two million New Zealanders will be obese in 20 years if trends continue. 


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