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Nutritional composition of takeaway food in the UK

Nutritional composition of takeaway food in the UK

Jaworowska, Agnieszka, Blackham, Toni M., Long, Rachel, Taylor, Catherine, Ashton, Matthew, Stevenson, Leonard and Glynn Davies, Ian (2014) Nutritional composition of takeaway food in the UK. Nutrition and Food Science, 44 (5). pp. 414-430. ISSN 0034-6659 (doi:

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Purpose – This paper aims to determine the nutritional profile of popular takeaway meals in the UK. Fast food has a poor nutritional profile; research has focused on the major catering chains, with limited data on takeaway food from independent establishments.

Design/methodology/approach – Random samples of takeaway meals were purchased from small, independent takeaway establishments. Multiple samples of 27 different takeaway meals, from Indian, Chinese, kebab, pizza and English-style establishments (n = 489), were analysed for portion size, energy, protein, carbohydrate, total fat, salt and total sugars.

Findings – Takeaway meals were inconsistent with UK dietary recommendations; pizzas revealed the highest energy content, and Chinese meals were lowest in total fat. However, there was a high degree of variability between and within categories, but the majority of meals were excessive for portion size, energy, macronutrients and salt.

Research limitations/implications – The present study focused on energy, macronutrients, salt and total sugars. Future research should analyse the quality of fat and carbohydrates and micronutrients to provide a more detailed nutritional profile of takeaway food.

Practical implications – The nutritional variability between establishments suggests that recipe reformulation should be explored in an attempt to improve the nutritional quality of takeaway foods. In addition, portion size reduction could favour both the consumer and the industry.

Social implications – Takeaway outlets do not provide nutritional information; due to the excessive nutritional profiles, regular intake may increase the risk of non-communicable disease. Therefore, there is a pressing need for this provision to help consumers make conscious food choices.

Originality/value – This is the first study to analyse energy and macronutrient content of independent takeaway meals in the UK.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fast food, Salt, Dietary fat, Energy density, Out-of-home food, Takeaway food
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2021 04:46

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