The Chip Group has achieved a world first with the launch of a set of industry standards aimed at helping independent chip shop operators to make takeaway chips (French fries) healthier.
Details of ‘The New Zealand Standards for Deep Fried Chips in Independent Fast Food Outlets’ have been gradually introduced to the industry last month.
They comprise seven standards, as well as a recommendation from the Chip Group and the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand on which oils to use.
The Standards are:
Use thick straight cut chips at least 13 mm.
Serve a recommended scoop size.
Cook chips at a temperature of 175 - 180°C for between 3 – 4 minutes.
Bang or shake the basket vigorously twice then hang it for at least 20 seconds.
Maintain oil in good quality.
Rather than salt the chips, provide salt sachets.
Undertake Best Practice Frying Training.
Chairperson of the Chip Group, Glenda Gourley, said the Standards were able to be developed after the Ministry of Health granted funding to implement a three year programme focused on improving the nutritional profile of chips.
“The Standards were based on robust scientific data and Heart Foundation recommendations, as well as consultation with key industry groups and chip shop operators,” Glenda said.
“These are voluntary standards and shop owners are being asked to encourage staff to use them as part of their daily work.”
“In launching them, we hope to be able to help shops serve up tastier and healthier chips to their customers and, at the same time, improve the cost efficiency of their business.”
Members of the Group currently comprise: the Potato Product Group – a division of Horticulture New Zealand, Bakels, Burns and Ferrall, Food2Go, Goodman Fielder, Moffat, Huhtamaki, McCain Foods, Mr Chips, Southern Hospitality, Premo Filtration, NZARFD, Alfa One, Kauri, 3M and the Heart Foundation.
Glenda said what originally started out as ad hoc Chip Group meetings where attendees swapped notes about the chip shop industry had rapidly become a group that was paving the way for improving the nutritional profile of chips.
“Overseas organisations have even expressed interest in what we’re doing here in New Zealand because it’s never been done before.”
To date, work carried out by the Group has primarily involved the Best Chip Shop Competition. The event aims to encourage and educate shop owners on techniques which help to reduce fat absorption by the chip.
“In recent times, the momentum and activity of the Chip Group has been steadily building. The extension of the Chip Group’s activities into areas including the launch of the Standards signals a strong commitment from industry to improve chips.”
Heart Foundation nutritionist, Judith Morley-John, said New Zealanders eat approximately 7 million serves of chips each week, therefore, making them lower in fat and salt could have a big impact on people’s health.
“Research also shows that consumers prefer the taste of chips when they are cooked according to the Standards. Chip shops that follow them will, therefore, not only provide a product that consumers want but they will also reduce the fat content of cooked chips by up to 20 per cent,” she said.
“If all shops used the recommended frying techniques, we could potentially remove over 2,500 tonnes of fat from the national food supply annually.”
She said shops competing in the Best Chip Shop Competition are encouraged to the use the frying techniques.
“Last year’s Competition saw an average fat content of 7.6% recorded across all of the samples for the six winning shops, compared to 10.8% for the national average. We believe that this is verification that the healthier cooking message is getting through.”
The next step in the Chip Group’s campaign is set to include the launch of online training modules for shop owners and their staff later this year.
For further information on the Chip Group visit www.chipgroup.co.nz