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Industry Moves To Reduce Fat Content of Hot Chips

Media Release

18th May 2004

Industry Moves To Reduce Fat Content of Hot Chips

New Zealand’s independent takeaway operators are shake, banging and hanging their chip baskets to bring New Zealanders tastier and healthier hot chips.

Healthier takeaways and trimmer waistlines are the objectives of a joint initiative between the Potato Growers of New Zealand, chip makers, distributors and the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand.

The “Tips on Chips” consumer poster campaign will be launched nationwide in May and is aimed at educating the nation’s 2,000 plus independent takeaway operators and the chip buying public about easy ways to reduce the fat content of takeaway chips.

Thick cut straight chips or wedges cooked at 180ºC absorb less oil than crinkle cut or shoestring fries. Once cooked, chips should be shaken and hung for 30 seconds to allow the maximum amount of oil to drain off. These simple things can significantly reduce the fat content of chips, and at the same time improve the taste and crispness of the end product.

Recognising that chips are an integral part of the Kiwi lifestyle, the industry has taken its social responsibility to heart and is pro-actively working towards making chips healthier for the consumer, says Potato Growers of New Zealand spokesperson Glenda Gourley.

The overall fat content of takeaway chips is influenced by a number of factors including cooking temperature, chip thickness and draining the chips once cooked. By educating takeaway operators, Mrs Gourley says the “Tips on Chips” campaign hopes to reduce the fat content of takeaway chips by 20%, as well as improve the quality and taste.

Seminars promoting the Heart Foundation’s guidelines to takeaway operators will commence on June 14 in Wellington, and June 21 in Whangarei with more to follow.


“We believe that consumers will benefit from being able to purchase from a takeaway that follows the Tips on Chips programme. Anything we can do as an industry to reduce the fat content of the end product will, over time, have a significant impact on the health and waistlines of the 47% of New Zealanders who eat hot chips at least once a week. We are grateful for the co-operation of the chip producers, distributors and the Heart Foundation in making this campaign a reality,” says Mrs Gourley.

“Consumers are encouraged to seek out chip shops who are participating in the Tips on Chips programme. Operators should be displaying their Tips on Chips posters prominently in store.”

Studies have shown that fish and chips are the most frequently purchased takeaway food. Vegfed (the New Zealand Vegetable and Potato Growers’ Federation Inc.) estimates that 110,000 tonnes of hot chips are consumed annually.

The Heart Foundation believes that a small reduction in the amount of fat in deep fried foods would contribute to a large reduction in the fat consumption of the population. A reduction in the fat content of chips of 20% would remove 2,200 tonnes of fat from New Zealanders’ diet each year, or to relate this visually – the equivalent to 574 elephants! Such measures have the potential to improve the diet of the whole population, lowering the mean level of risk factors. Reducing fat intake is an important way to decrease caloric intake that is an important component of managing obesity. The Heart Foundation urges consumers to keep in mind that deep fried chips are still a ‘sometimes’ food.

Potatoes naturally contain no fat. It is the method of cooking and what is added to potatoes that incur the calories. Oven baked chips cooked at home for instance, have a very low fat content of around 3%.


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