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Fish and Chips Nutritional Information

As previously reported in the Fish Friers Review, the NFFF have conducted a series of nutritional tests using samples produced at the NFFF Training School in Leeds to get a full, fair and realistic picture of the nutritional content of the meals we produce.

Working with Stelios Theocharous of Fish and Chip Test Company,  Training School Co-ordinator Mark Drummond produced 10 samples for testing. This included a sample of homemade mushy peas, so the results could be combined together to produce results for fish and chips or fish, chips and mushy peas. All sample weights were recorded so we were able to produce both results per 100 grams and results for certain size meals.

Please see the results of the testing below.

Fish and Chips: Averages

6 oz. portion of fish with 10oz. chips...
 

PORTION

CALORIES

FAT (Grams)

Total Portion Average

998.8

52.3

Per 100g Average

212.7

11.1

 
6 oz. portion of fish with 10 oz. chips and 4 oz. Mushy Peas...
 

PORTION

CALORIES

FAT (Grams)

Total Portion Average

1086

52.9

Per 100g Average

187

9.2

 

Comparing Frying Mediums

We produced the same fish and chips, using the portion size above, in 3 different frying mediums, Rape Seed Oil, Beef Dripping and Palm Fat (Frymax), to see how this affected fat and calorie content.

 

FRYING MEDIUM

CALORIES

TOTAL FAT
(Grams)
SATURATED FAT(Grams)

Rapeseed Oil

Per portion

972

47.1

4.2

 

Per 100g

202

9.8

0.9

Beef Dripping

Per portion

1028

56.6

30.9

 

Per 100g

216

11.9

6.5

Palm Fat (Frymax)

Per portion

997

53.3

26.3

 

Per 100g

220

11.7

5.8

 
 
Summary: Palm Fat and Beef Dripping offer similar results, whereas Rapeseed Oil proved to be lower in calories and fat and much lower in saturated fat. It is worth pointing out the results for Rapeseed Oil were dependent on the oil being in a good condition. As a frying medium it breaks down more easily than the others and results from oil in poor condition would be very different. This is just one of the many reasons for good oil management.

Chips - Based on Thickness

We tested 3 different thicknesses of chips (14mm x14mm, 14mm x 17mm and 17mm x 17mm) all fried in palm fat and also cooked one sample by blanching and one straight through to see if blanching affected the fat and calorie content. Do your chips measure up?The results are per 100 grams.

 

CHIP SIZE (mm)

CALORIES

FAT (Grams)

14 x 14

220

8.6

14 x 17

208

8.3

17 x 17

212

9.0

14 x 17 (blanched)

225

8.7

 
Summary: A chip cut to the size of 14 x 17mm proved to be the healthiest in term of having fewer calories and less fat. We expected a thicker chip cut to 17 x 17mm to be the healthiest but this came out with higher results. This can perhaps be explained by the requirement of a longer cooking time, meaning more time to absorb the fat, or it could be due to the fact that the 17 x 17mm chips were "ready chips” and the others freshly prepared in the training school that morning.

Fish - Based on Portion Sizes

We tested 3 different sizes of fish (4oz, 6oz and 10oz). The same batter was used for all samples and all the fish used was Icelandic FAS Cod. The results are per 100 grams.
 

FISH SIZE (oz)

CALORIES

FAT (Grams)

4oz Cod

227

16.7

6oz Cod

240

17.3

10oz Cod

265

20.3

 

Summary: The results indicate that bigger fish contain more fat and calories per 100g, meaning that an accurate result cannot be obtained by simply testing one size of fish then applying to other sizes (i.e. testing a 4 oz fish and then multiplying by 2 to get results for an 8 oz fish).

Chips - Based on Portion Sizes

Chips Portion SizesWe fried chips cut to 14 x 17 mm in palm fat and then produced the nutritional values for various portion sizes commonly offered in fish and chip shops.

 

PORTION OF CHIPS (oz)

CALORIES

FAT (Grams)

5oz

295

11.9

10oz

589

23.8

15oz

884

35.7

20oz

1177

47.5

25oz

1473

59.5

 

Summary: The portion size you sell has a huge impact on the total fat and calories your customers consume. However healthy the product is, if portion sizes are very large the customer will have consumed a high amount of fat and large number of calories.

Overall Summary

Fish and chips are less than 10% fat if properly cooked and an average sized portion is less than 1000 calories. Adding peas to the meal lowers fat and calories per 100 grams, but as peas contain approximately 100 calories per 100 grams, this increases the total calories consumed in the meal.

Rapeseed oil (when in optimum condition) produces the healthiest product, but breaks down more easily than other frying mediums. It is, however, a reasonable view that the customer expectation of taste is more important.

Stelios Theocharous of the Fish & Chips Test Company working with Mark Drummond The size of portion you serve is key to total calories and fat your customers consume.

In our original article about nutritional testing in the FFR, Mark Drummond wrote that a large portion of Fish, Chips & Peas could be up to 1600 calories, and this resulted in complaints from several members saying it was an exaggeration. Our results show that a 10oz Fish, 15oz portion of Chips and 7oz Peas (not an exceptionally large portion in some places) actually contained 1846 calories.

Our results also show that the proportion of fish/chips/peas in a meal has a big effect on the fat and calorie content, as the fried fish is higher in fat and calories than chips, and peas are almost fat free and less than half the calories per 100 grams of the chips. So for example a meal consisting of a 4oz fish, 10oz portion of chips and 7oz Peas would contain 1110 calories (186 calories per 100 grams), whereas a meal consisting of a 10oz fish, 7 oz portion of chips and 4oz peas would contain 1291 calories (217 calories per 100 grams), even though the total weight of both the meals were the same (21oz or 594 grams).

Further tests would need to be done to establish if treating chips with preservatives effects nutritional content and also if pre-produced ready chips have different fat and calorie levels to those produced in a shop.

Please click here to download a Spreadsheet of the Full Results...