Majority of patrons believe they're being served too much, study concludes

DALLAS The majority of American adults regard the portions they're served in restaurants as too large, according to a report based on a 2006 survey of more than 4,000 consumers.

The study, by Decision Analyst research and consulting firm here, found that 57 percent of adults agree that restaurant portions are too large, compared with 20 percent who regard foodservice serving sizes as too small. Twenty-three percent of the 4,156 respondents said they had no opinion on the matter, according to the data.

The numbers were further skewed by gender - 67 percent of women think the portions are too large, compared with 47 percent of men - and income. The higher a respondent's income was, the more likely he or she was to view restaurant portions as too large. Sixty percent of persons earning $100,000 to $149,999 annually adjudged serving sizes to be unduly generous, and the percentage climbed to 70 percent for persons making at least $150,000. In contrast, 27 percent of respondents earning under $25,000 indicated that they don't regard the portions as being too large.

Even consumers who view restaurant dining as an occasion for indulgence believe their hosts put too much on the plate, according to Decision Analyst. Among consumers who agree with the statement, "I don't worry about nutrition when I eat out," 53 percent also agree that restaurant portions are too large, the researcher said. About 70 percent of healthful diners take that view of serving sizes, the study said.