Serving suggestion

What’s the purpose of the tiny “serving suggestion” printed on the labels of canned food? Did a company once get sued for not including, in their can of chili, the china bowl and silver spoon depicted on the label? I understand disclaimers and our litigious society, but don’t understand the potential ramification of not printing “serving suggestion” on the label.

Or maybe it’s the opposite, lest [del]people[/del] idiots think they have to go find an identical bowl and spoon: “Hey, putting chili in a bowl is only a suggestion! You can do whatever the hell you want with it! Pour it over nachos. Spread it on your loved one’s chest and lick it off. Don’t let us stop you!”

I’ve always assumed it’s because the picture on the front may not match what’s inside the packaging. That is, the “serving suggestion” picture often contains extra ingredients to make the product look more appealing.

There is also the trick of stating a ridiculously small “serving size” (e.g. half or a quarter of a small snack-size bag of chips) in order to print a deflated calorie count 'per serving".

Pretty sure this is it. Whenever I’ve seen “serving suggestion” the photo on the label has some kind of food styling done: a sprinkle of parsley, a lemon slice for garnish, etc. Legally, they are obligated to inform you that there is not, in fact, any parsley or lemon in the product.

Steve, the terms “serving suggestion” and “serving size” have nothing to do with each other…

I do like the recent trend I’ve seen in packaging that contains “per package” nutritional information, for this reason. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as extreme as a snack-size packet of chips claim to be 2 or 2.5 servings, but what most people today think of as a “single serving” of chips is definitely 2-3 times more than what one might expect. I think what is called a “single serving” by chip makers is reasonable amount if you’re eating the chips along with a sandwich. (Maybe a dozen chips?)

Yes, half a whoopie pie or cookie or croissant is not an f’ng serving. Who eats half of something meant for only one person to eat?

Serving sizes are defined by the FDA, not food producers or processors. They were based on eating patterns from the '70s, but they have been looking at redefining the sizes for various categories to account for contemporary gluttony.

That is exactly why.

Do you have an example you can link to? Cause otherwise I’m going to feel compelled to go to the grocery store and scan the shelves to see if there are any labels with “serving suggestion” on them where there’s just a bowl and spoon, and not some extra garnish or ingredient or topping, in the photo.

I agree with this. It’s ludicrous to think I’m only going to half of something if the whole thing should be meant to eat in the first place.

Sorry, trying again.

Brian Regan on serving sizes.

I’ll save you some looking time - here’s a good place to start: Hot Pockets

I’ve wondered about the OP myself for this very reason. The front of some of their packages has literally nothing but the Hot Pocket (pure white background) held in what appears to be a woman’s hand, based on daintiness and fingernails. Oh, and steam coming from the Hot Pocket.

So the serving suggestion is apparently to heat their product and then eat it out of a woman’s hand. Well, I figured out on my own not to eat it frozen, based on the name if not common sense. However I haven’t had any luck in finding a woman to hand feed it to me. But thanks anyways for the suggestion I guess.

Here’s an example, although the hand isn’t as obviously feminine as some I’ve seen. And there isn’t steam coming from this one so maybe you can eat it frozen from any old hand. And the background isn’t pure white - it has stripes. Maybe they’re flavor stripes you need to provide on your own.

You can just bearly see the ‘‘serving suggestion’’ in the lower right hand corner.

And if you’re going to eat one Pop Tart, you might as well eat both.

“Serving suggestion”, in that case, may well be “cutting the Hot Pocket open”. It doesn’t look that way coming out of the microwave, even in an attractive female hand. :slight_smile:

A lot of oil, lard and solid shortening (aka Crisco) has a photo of food on the label with “serving suggestion” beside it. The bottle of oil in my pantry has a picture of quesadillas with those words next to it.

It’s an old joke that [some ethnic type] goes to the supermarket and comes home exclaiming that Americans can fit a whole fried chicken dinner into a little can and then whips out a can of Crisco.

It’s not a fried chicken dinner, but it is a whole cooked chicken in a can. Bon appetit!

Yeah, if you were only meant to eat one, they wouldn’t pack them two to a bag that doesn’t reseal.