Obesity Action Scotland's new research “Chips to Go” has found that the UK consume up to a quarter of their calories out of home. It also found that chips are the most commonly consumed takeaway item in Scotland. 

Obesity Action Scotland visited 30 outlets offering chips to take away in Glasgow during the last two weeks of May 2018. 

All available portion sizes in each outlet were purchased and weighed; in total 40 samples were collected. The calorie and total fat content of each portion was estimated, and compared them with typical chips servings from the Food Standards Agency’s Food Portion Sizes booklet (2002). 

There was a wide variation in available portion sizes of chips: from 120g to 755g. An average portion of chips (from outlets that offered only one size of chips) was 380g.  The size of the majority of portions was much higher than the average fish and chips shop portion (210g) in 2002: 37 out of 40 portions (92.5%) were bigger; 18 out of 40 portions (45%) were over 2 times bigger, and one (2.5%) was over 3 times bigger. 

The biggest portion of chips in this study (755g) could provide around three quarters of an adult’s daily energy requirements and more than half of total recommended fat.  One average bag of chips (380g)* contained around a half of the daily calorie intake recommended for women (2000kcal). 

There is a wide variation in the portion sizes of chips available to take away. Most of them are very high in calories and fat. The sizes of the majority of portions of chips from takeaway meals were much larger than typical chips servings in 2002. Eating chips from takeaways puts people at risk of putting on substantial weight when they consume chips over and above their intake of other food and drink. 

Obesity Action Scotland are calling for action to regulate to control portion sizes and introduce mandatory calorie caps and also regulate or limit access to unhealthy food through improved planning and licensing arrangements for out of home sector.

The fact sheet can be read here.