Dubai/ Abu Dhabi/ Fujairah: Are sandwiches getting smaller these days or is it just your mind playing tricks?

If you have asked yourself this question then you worry no longer. It was recently confirmed that a new trend has started among restaurants and cafeterias who are now cutting down on costs by selling smaller portions of food, in addition to reducing the fillings in sandwiches.

While some cafeterias are offering smaller portions to customers, others have chosen instead to raise their prices. This trend ultimately affects customers who are no longer getting value for money and at the end of the day, are left with paying more than they used to compared to a few months ago.

City Talk took to the streets and asked residents whether they had noticed a change in the size of food portions served in cafeterias and restaurants, and if the price of meals had increased.

Mayatte Dungo, from the Philippines, 55, said: "It is only natural that fast food chains start serving smaller portions, I am relieved that they have not increased the price of food otherwise as that would have been a problem. Personally I do not find it a big deal to minimise portions a little bit and I have realised that food chains are doing that lately. It is actually healthy and good for people to eat less."

Susana Cataparin, a Filipina marketing manager, 35, said: "Prices are getting higher while the portions are staying the same. I do not see why the price has to rise and even though it has not increased that much, the meals are still more expensive than before."

Elvecia Kapoor, a radiographer from South Africa, 32, said: "We eat at fast food chains and Indian restaurants all the time, but I have not noticed that food portions have got smaller. However my husband complains that prices have increased. Most products in stores have increased their prices, so why shouldn't the fast food chains do the same? When I first arrived in Abu Dhabi the price for frozen chicken wings was Dh10 and now it is Dh16. That is a huge increase."

Utku Kocak, a customer support representative from Turkey, 27, said: "Even though I have only been in the country for four months, I have already noticed the difference in prices even though the food portions stay the same. The prices for ready-made meals are gradually increasing. I regularly eat in restaurants and noticed the change in prices immediately."

Saeed Hamed, an Indian sales agent, 28, said: "I started to notice the change in food portions and the price increase last April and it has forced many people to reconsider where and what they eat. Many bachelors have a monthly contract with restaurants and since the increases, many can no longer afford these but as bachelors we are subject to time pressures and as such our options are very few. I think the government is trying to control rises in costs but local authorities could do much more to supervise local traders."

Ali Mohammad, an accountant from India, 32, said: "I do not usually eat sandwiches, but when I do, I definitely notice a change. A year ago, the sandwich es used to have many fillings but now there are hardly any and there are very few ingredients. The portions have certainly changed. Another important thing I have noticed is that the price of meals has gone up."

Mohammad Geissa, a project manager from Egypt, 34, said: "I have not noticed food portions getting smaller at all. Generally speaking, I never notice the price of food because there are so many options in the market, as there are up to seven different brands of chicken for instance and each priced differently. In some stores, old stock is being sold on shelves and a special discount is offered. It is a very tricky process so you can never know the real value of the product."

Dr Hatem Hassan Al Saeed, an orthopaedic surgeon from Egypt, 59, said: "I started to notice this as all of a sudden, meal portions shrank and prices went up. Like many others, however, I find myself with little option but to continue forking out the money and eat out at the same places because at the end of the day, food is one thing you cannot compromise on. Some people, including myself, have tried to save some money by eating at home more often, even if it means forgoing a cooked meal for light snacks. The main problem with such increases is that it comes despite the fact salaries in the private sector are frozen and that is what creates anxiety among most people."