How big is a scoop of chips and why does it matter?

 

This age-old question has plagued both chip shop operators and their customers for many years. How big really is a scoop of chips? The term ‘scoop’ is used as a measurement in any fish and chip shops across New Zealand. Yet the customer has no idea how many chips they’ll get, and the operator has no idea how many chips they’re serving.

There has been great debate recently about how big a scoop should be. It is always interesting to hear people’s differing opinions…Since its inception The Chip Group set out to solve this mystery and produced a standard that the industry could follow – recommending that ‘one scoop’ be 330g of uncooked chips per serve. Why? you may ask…

The Chip Group are a division of Potatoes New Zealand, partially funded by the Ministry of Health. The Chip Group’s underlying goal is to improve the nutritional quality of deep fried chips, focusing on reducing fat content (both total and saturated) and sodium (salt).

For some people chips are considered a treat and only eaten every so often. But the reality is that New Zealanders consume over 4 million servings of hot potato chips every single week! Our goal is to help operators prepare chips in a way that reduces fat and sodium (salt) intake and therefore improves the health of the consumer. We’re not saying don’t eat chips, we’re saying eat healthier chips from Chip Group trained operators.

One of our major focus areas is indeed portion size. We recommend serving a 330g (uncooked weight) of chips. Potatoes are a nutritious vegetable with a high satiety – meaning you will feel fuller for longer after eating potatoes. There can often be a great deal of ‘waste’ associated with hot chips – as over-ordering, or not knowing how many chips you are going to get – can result in chips being thrown out.

From a health perspective, our research shows that 330g is an appropriate serving size. By encouraging operators to serve a consistent sized scoop we can better gauge the nutritional content consumed. It also allows operators to manage their costings, because 1kg of chips will give you three 330g scoops, so out of a 5kg box of chips they can produce 15 servings of chips. So not only does it help with the operators’ business, it is designed to help customers understand and know how much they are getting when they order ‘one scoop of chips’.

Interestingly, portion sizes vary throughout the country – depending on region, town, suburb within a city and of course depending on price. In fact, scoop sizes over New Zealand can be anywhere from 250g to 800g per scoop.

As an industry organisation we do not have the authority to enforce a scoop/serving size. It is simply a best practice recommendation, based on our industry standards. One that we believe benefits both the operator and New Zealander’s health.

Take a look next time you order a scoop and see what your local fish and chip shop is serving, or better yet ask them if they know how many grams are in one scoop of their chips. Either way if they don’t know about the Chip Group, encourage them to get online and complete the FREE online training – you’ll be doing your own health a favour!

The following are The Chip Group’s Industry Standards – recommendations which will enable people to serve better tasting, lower fat chips.

  • Chip Size– Use thick straight-cut chips, at least 13mm wide.
  • Serving Size– A standard scoop of chips is 330g
  • Oil Temperature– Cook chips at 175°C – 180°C
  • Cooking-Deep Frying– Cook chips for 3 – 4 minutes at 175°C – 180°C.
  • Basket Drainage– Shake, bang and hang the basket for at least 20 seconds
  • Oil Maintenance– Look after your oil and keep it in good condition.
  • Filtering and Cleaning– If possible filter your frying oil every day and keep oil clean.
  • Salt– Ask your customer, salt sparingly, provide sachets or use low sodium alternatives.
  • Type of Frying Oil – Better oil means better chips. Rice Bran oil, Cottonseed oil and various oil varieties are best for deep-frying.
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