FASFA hits out at article attacking calorie content

The Frozen at Sea Fillet Association (FASFA) has defended the fish and chip industry against an article in a Cornish newspaper which criticises the calorie content of fish and chips.

The feature in Cornwall Live described the dish as “artery-clogging’ before stating that the average portion of fish and chips contains 842 calories. It then went on to compare the calorie content to the equivalent in burgers, cans on coke and bags of sweets.

In a statement, John Rutherford, chief executive of FASFA, makes it clear that the wider fish and chip industry takes the issues around public health and healthy eating very seriously. He points to the nationwide campaign ‘Don’t be a #ChippyChucker’, devised to encourage fish and chip lovers to consider their calorie intake, as well as Seafish's Does Size Matter report, which promotes a greater range of portion sizes, as positive steps taken of late.

John comments: “The recent news from Cornwall Live regarding calorie intake demonstrates the importance of the industry continuing to take a proactive approach to tackling the key issues. Offering a larger variety of portion sizes is beneficial to consumer health but the financial benefits to shop owners are also evident as less waste means greater yield due to optimal, and more efficient, use of produce. Demonising the industry has a vast, negative impact on a much-loved, precious industry as a whole, our independent businesses and, ultimately, a Great British tradition. Rather than condemning the industry, we applaud its efforts to keep adapting and evolving- that is exactly what FASFA, the wider industry campaigns such as this intend to do.”

FASFA points out that it is difficult to determine the exact nutritional value of an ‘average’ portion of fish and chips since portion size differs throughout the UK. However, it highlights the Lite-BITE, which has been confirmed by the NHS and Newcastle University to have a nutritional value of 500 calories, as a way of ensuring customers know exactly what they are getting, every time.

Also highlighted in the statement are additional steps that the industry is taking to cut calorie intake, such as introducing alternative preparation methods that lower the saturated fat content in fish and chips.

John adds: “Research continues to show that customers are more health-conscious than ever before and lighter portion choices appeal to these customers. With a more manageable portion, customers are able to enjoy delicious guilt-free fish and chips as a lunchtime option or as a manageable evening meal. We must tackle the issues head-on to support the future of our industry, our campaign aims to engage with both consumers and individual shops to do just that.”