Package size and manufacturer-recommended serving size of sweet beverages: a cross-sectional study across four high-income countries

Maartje P Poelman, Helen Eyles, Elizabeth Dunford, Alyssa Schermel, Mary R L'Abbe, Bruce Neal, Jacob C Seidell, Ingrid Hm Steenhuis, Cliona Ni Mhurchu

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To assess the mean package size and manufacturer-recommended serving size of sweet beverages available in four high-income countries: Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional surveys.

SETTING: The two largest supermarket chains of each country in 2012/2013.

SUBJECTS: Individual pack size (IPS) drinks (n 891) and bulk pack size (BPS) drinks (n 1904).

RESULTS: For all IPS drinks, the mean package size was larger than the mean serving size (mean (sd)=412 (157) ml and 359 (159) ml, respectively). The mean (sd) package size of IPS drinks was significantly different for all countries (range: Australia=370 (149) ml to New Zealand=484 (191) ml; P<0·01). The mean (sd) package size of Dutch BPS drinks (1313 (323) ml) was significantly smaller compared with the other countries (New Zealand=1481 (595) ml, Australia=1542 (595) ml, Canada=1550 (434) ml; P<0·01). The mean (sd) serving size of BPS drinks was significantly different across all countries (range: Netherlands=216 (30) ml to Canada=248 (31) ml; P<0·00). New Zealand had the largest package and serving sizes of the countries assessed. In all countries, a large number of different serving sizes were used to provide information on the amount appropriate to consume in one sitting.

CONCLUSIONS: At this point there is substantial inconsistency in package sizes and manufacturer-recommended serving sizes of sweet beverages within and between four high-income countries, especially for IPS drinks. As consumers do factor serving size into their judgements of healthiness of a product, serving size regulations, preferably set by governments and global health organisations, would provide consistency and assist individuals in making healthier food choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1008-16
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Australia
  • Beverages
  • Canada
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developed Countries
  • Energy Intake
  • Food Packaging
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Portion Size
  • Serving Size
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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