Two fish and chip shops in Birmingham have received in-person mentoring from celebrity chef Gregg Wallace with the aim of improving the selection of healthier options available on their menus.
Rubery Fish Bar and Big John’s were among ten takeaways in the city chosen by Just Eat to receive visits from Gregg, as well as registered nutritionist Charlotte Radcliffe, over a three month period.
Together, they brainstormed new ideas on how they could expand the offerings, from adding healthier items to menus to more effectively marketing the healthiest dishes to customers. They also benefited from a free trial of Nutritics, a tool used to calculate the nutritional value of menu items.
Both chippies will now trial tailored changes to their menus to help meet the increasing demand for healthier choices.
Chris Kleanthous, manager at Rubery Fish Bar, comments: "It was great working with Gregg, we discussed lower salt in sausages and saveloys, using wholemeal buns, pittas, naans and wraps, he even came up with the idea of chicken sausages, which would be healthier. We're also now looking at doing more vegetable sides, and with our kids meals offering low sugar drinks and perhaps swapping the lolly that comes with them for fruit.
"I'm really keen to implement these ideas in the next couple of days and push ourselves forward as a healthy fish and chip shop. We'll still do our main lines, but we're going to offer more healthy options in addition to those so that it gives people the choice.
"I do anticipate a good uptake and it gives our customers that assurance that we are doing our best to provide healthier meals for them, because we are getting asked more."
Not all Gregg's ideas were taken on board, however, with Chris adding: "Gregg did suggest frying in rapeseed oil but I explained I had tried that in the past and, although it may be a better option, it left an aftertaste which I wasn't keen on. So it's finding a balance. We don't want to confuse people about what we are, we are a fish and chip shop at the end of the day. But we are trying to provide healthier options.
"I'm loving the challenge and the opportunity to be a leader in our industry. I do think fish and chip shops have got to move with the times and try out new things, but at the same time not harm their identity."
At the end of the project, Just Eat will analyse restaurant and customer feedback to develop a broader programme of support for its entire restaurant partner base across the UK. This will offer all of its 58,000 restaurant partners the tools, advice and incentive to make beneficial changes.
The initiative follows research by Just Eat in which over half (52%) of restaurants said they get requests from customers for healthier options but more than three-quarters (79%) admitted to not knowing where to start in order to meet this demand.
Commenting on the project, Gregg Wallace said: “As someone who has recently transformed my own diet, I know that takeaways can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle - but it’s not always easy to find those options. Customers need to be able to find a healthy option every time they order in. Most restaurants we visited were already actively taking steps, whether that is adding new healthier dishes or exploring where they can swap ingredients, but there’s always more that can be done.”
Andrew Kenny, UK managing director at Just Eat, added: “Consumers are increasingly looking to enjoy takeaways as part of a healthy balanced diet - but research we carried out earlier this year showed that less than a third think they can do so currently. As a platform that offers more than 100 different cuisine types, we are using our reach to help our restaurant partners to tap into and further drive this demand. This programme is just the first step for us as we look to create sustainable change across the industry.”
Other restaurants that took part include Sophie’s Pizza and Pasta, Shazan’z Kebab House and Chop & Wok.