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Durham University

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Should fish and chips portions be smaller?

(7 February 2019)

Fish and chips in take-away box

Next time you go for your fish and chips, you might be able to choose your portion size.

Some fish and chips shops in the North East of England have trialled smaller portions only containing 600 calories compared to the usual 1,600.

The trial was part of research involving Durham University which looked at using smaller portions to help tackle obesity levels.

Portion sizes

Working with fish and chips wholesaler, Henry Colbeck, the team produced a smaller box. Around 12 million of the so-called Lite-BITE® boxes have now been sold to over 250 shops.

The 600 calorie meal in the new boxes meets Government nutritional guidelines for meal sizes.

The hope is that this model could act as a template for others in the fast-food sector to follow.

Healthy eating

The researchers worked with takeaway owners and highlighted the problem of excessive portion sizes, customers’ desire to be more health conscious and to have smaller meals.

They were also given promotional posters and business incentives of free packaging and customer loyalty points.

The research team used sales figures, secret-shopper feedback, customer surveys and interviews in a selection of shops to find out what shoppers and takeaway owners were comfortable with. This showed that customers were happy to buy the smaller portions and takeaway owners were happy to sell them.

Overall, the research has shown that smaller portions of fish and chips have been embraced by takeaway owners as well as customers.

Find out more

  • Read the research paper
  • The research was done by a team from Fuse, The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health involving Newcastle, Durham, Cambridge and Teesside Universities
  • The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research (SPHR)
  • Take a look at undergraduate and postgraduate opportunities in our Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences

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