Collaboration & strategic partnerships

Shrinking fish and chips for healthier portion sizes

Fuse researchers funded by the NIHR SPHR explored how working with a wholesale supplier could encourage fish and chip shops to offer smaller portion sizes to customers, in a bid to combat obesity.

The study, part of the Transforming the ‘Foodscape’ programme of research, involved working with independent fish and chip wholesaler Henry Colbeck, which supplies over 2,500 shops across northern England and Scotland.

The researchers ran an engagement event with owners and managers of 12 fish and chip shops to highlight the problem of excessive portion sizes and potential ways to reduce portion sizes.

They then analysed sales, secret-shopper reports, customer surveys and interviews from the participating shops.

Watch this video to find out more about how we worked with takeaway owners & Henry Colbeck

The results, published in BMJ Open, showed that fish and chip shops were open to promoting healthier meal options to customers, and customers were happy to purchase smaller portions. Provisional data suggests that the promotion of smaller meal packaging is viable and potentially sustainable for takeaway owners.

Henry Colbeck subsequently developed the Lite-BITE® box. Its dimensions reduce the size of a portion of fish and chips to 600 calories, compared with over 1,600 for an average fish and chip meal.

The Lite-BITE® boxes are now available in over 250 fish and chip shops, with sales data suggesting that these smaller portions are popular and rapidly becoming an established menu item in fish and chip shops throughout the UK. 12,000 cases of the Lite-BITE® boxes were sold in 2018 which equates to 1.2m boxes.

Fuse Open Science blogs:

Take it away: a masterclass in healthy takeaways

Have you haddock enough?


Chief Scientific Advisor praises Fuse research responding to local needs

Tackling the obesity crisis by shrinking fish and chips

Project page: 

Foodscape - testing interventions to promote healthier takeaway food


Goffe L, Hillier-Brown F, Hildred N, et al. Feasibility of working with a wholesale supplier to co-design and test acceptability of an intervention to promote smaller portions: an uncontrolled before-and-after study in British Fish & Chip shops. BMJ Open 2019;9:e023441. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023441

Research brief:

Foodscapes: how can we make takeaway food healthier?

SPHR website:

Transforming the ‘foodscape’: development and feasibility testing of interventions to promote healthier take-away, pub or restaurant food

Last modified: Tue, 26 Jan 2021 10:57:42 GMT