Portion guidance

portion guidance

Portion guidance

What is the issue?

Over time, the public’s perception of what constitutes a portion of food has been increasing. As a result people are eating more than they should without realising it. It is widely accepted that increased portion sizes are linked to global weight gain and health issues such as obesity.

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Why is it important?

As a food company committed to promoting public health, we want to help address the problem of inappropriate portion sizes. Through our food packaging, we have an opportunity to help our consumers be more mindful of healthier portion sizes.


  • Not yet achieved
  • By 2016 – (globally) provide portion guidance on all children’s and family products.
  • In 2015, 67% of children’s and family products globally had specific portion guidance. On products that have a significant impact on the overall diet of children, such as recurring choices and more indulgent foods, 76.9% provided portion guidance.
  • In the UK & Ireland, at the end of 2015, over 90% of our kids’ and family products offered specific portion guidance.
  • In progress
  • By 2016 – provide portion guidance on all of our confectionery products.
  • By the end of 2015, over half of our confectionery products offered specific portion guidance.
  • By 2017 – provide portion guidance on all UK products, including breakfast cereals and ice cream products, designed for children and families.

Consumers able to make more informed, healthy diet choices.


Be a trusted brand by acting over and above compliance.

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What are we doing about it?

At Nestlé, we want to help make eating food in the right portions as easy and intuitive as possible. For that reason we’ve created Nestlé Portion Guidance, a global voluntary initiative designed to raise awareness, challenge misconceptions and reframe cultural norms when it comes to portion size. This initiative has been developed through more than seven years of research carried out by the Nestlé Research Centre in consultation with nutritionists, health authorities and other experts.

In 2013, Nestlé made a commitment that it would provide portion guidance on all our relevant food and beverage products, with an initial focus on children and family products. This should be achieved by the end of 2016, and further supported by portion information across Nestlé’s recipe websites and healthy eating programmes.

Through Nestlé Portion Guidance, we have set out a number of strategies and commitments to address the issues around portion size. These include providing clear guidance and messaging on our food and drink packaging where relevant. But it also means changing perceptions and behaviour through the design of our packaging and products; for example, by partitioning bars of chocolate into appropriate portion sizes.

Research with mothers in countries around the world showed that they find the proposed on-pack portion guidance messages engaging and easy to understand. They view the guidance as complementary and different from nutrition labelling. Many mothers even felt the messaging would be useful for showing to their children what appropriate portions are.
Gisèle Fournier, Nestlé’s Global Nutrition Health and Wellness Programmes Manager


Know your servings

Many of our larger confectionery packs now feature visual cues and messaging to help consumers be more mindful of portion size. For example, our Smarties Sharing Block pack includes a Know your Servings roundel, reminding consumers that a serving is three chunks.

Cereals portion size  

Tablespoon portions on cereals

It’s not always easy to visualise the right portion size. To make things simpler and more intuitive for consumers of our breakfast cereals, we’ve designed a new label that expresses portion sizes in tablespoons, and shows the difference between adult and child portions.

The label will appear on all Nestlé cereal packs by the end of 2016, alongside a new graphic that shows how cereal can be part of a healthy, balanced breakfast.

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What’s next?

We will include portion guidance on all confectionery products by the end of 2016 and will continue to work on our food packaging to make it as easy as possible for our consumers to eat the appropriate amount.

We will introduce portion guidance on our ice cream and breakfast cereal products consumed by children from 2016.