Portion Sizes and Healthy Eating

On Friday the BBC News ran a story saying that Fish & Chip Shops were being “Urged to sell smaller portions”.


We have always sold a smaller portion of Fish & Chips, and in the past have sold smaller portions of all of our main dishes, but quite simply most customers prefer the regular portion. We even offer a meal deal with our smaller portion, in which you get a portion of sauce or a teacake with your small Fish & Chips at a discounted price – an offer not available with the regular portions.


Despite this, only 18% of customers buy the smaller portion. Simply put, customers buy what they want to buy. Although we offer smaller portions and even price them more attractively we cannot force customers to buy them.


I particularly liked the quote from the National Federation of Fish Friars, correctly stating that fish and chips are twice as healthy as burgers and chips – this is a fact that is frequently glossed over or misquoted in the press, but fish & chips are healthier than a lot of comparable takeaways.


One area of the article made me chuckle though – they compared fish & chip shops to multi-national takeaways like McDonalds and KFC, pointing out that the multi-national companies provide nutritional information for all of their menu items, where fish & chip shops generally do not.


I have looked into nutritional analysis, and at around £200 per dish tested, it would be an incredibly costly process to carry out. Any independent takeaway that does provide this kind of information must be charging over the odds to be able to afford it.


I always feel that the bad press that the fish & chip industry gets is unwarranted. I wonder if the BBC will run a similar article about the swathes of independent burger shops, Indian & Chinese takeaways, pizza shops and kebab shops who don’t offer smaller portions and do not have nutritional analysis for every dish?


Perhaps a fairer article would be getting a portion of each of the major types of takeaways (including the multi-nationals) and providing nutritional analysis of each of the dishes – both for the dish as a whole, and per 100g, so we can see the reality of which takeaway is healthiest of all.