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Takeaway food served by small independent UK takeaways, its consumption, composition, and reformulation

Blackham, T (2023) Takeaway food served by small independent UK takeaways, its consumption, composition, and reformulation. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Background - Compared to England, Merseyside has a higher prevalence of adults living with overweight or obesity, lower life expectancy and significantly higher mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Frequent consumption of fast food or takeaway food is associated with increased energy intake, weight gain and cardiovascular disease. Previous analysis has focussed on meals from fast food chains and found high levels of fat, saturated fat, and salt. Evidence of the nutritional content of takeaway food served by small independent takeaway outlets is sparse and warrants further research.
Aim and Objectives - To explore takeaway food served by small independent takeaway outlets in Merseyside. This was approached using three studies: first, an investigation of takeaway food consumption in Merseyside; second an analysis of nutritional composition of takeaway food using public analyst laboratory data supplied by local councils; third, reformulation and sensory acceptance testing of a takeaway meal to improve its nutritional content.
Methods – Takeaway food consumption was investigated using a quantitative questionnaire which was distributed to staff and students at Liverpool John Moores University (n = 461). Nutritional composition of takeaway meals from Indian, Chinese, kebab, pizza and English-style establishments (n = 511; meal types = 28) were analysed for portion size, energy, total fat, SFA, TFA, salt and total sugars. Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS. Recipe reformulation was performed as part of the Eatright Liverpool project using information collected by Liverpool City Council Trading Standards from independent takeaway outlets in Liverpool.
Results – Takeaway consumption was popular, with a fifth of respondents eating takeaway food once or twice a week and almost half eating it once or twice a month. Frequent takeaway consumption was significantly associated with sex, age, BMI, and marital status (p <0.05). The odds of being a frequent takeaway consumer were almost four times greater for respondents who were “usually too busy to cook”. Greater knowledge about the healthiness of takeaways was associated with respondents who ate takeaways less frequently, were younger, females, single/divorced/separated or were university educated. Greater receptiveness to healthier takeaways was associated with respondents who ate takeaways more frequently, had higher BMI or were female.
Takeaway meals showed large portion sizes and high levels of energy, fat, saturated fat and salt. Comparing medians (interquartile range) for different meal categories, Chinese meals had the largest portion sizes (830 g (694-935 g)), per portion. Pizzas contained the highest energy content (1820 kcal (1469-2152 kcal)) and salt content (9.15 g (6.79–11.96 g)) whilst English meals had the highest total fat content (79.8 g (65.7-94.0 g)) and Kebabs the highest TFA content (2.68 g (1.85-4.45 g)). There was a high degree of variability between and within categories. There were also large differences between specific takeaway meals, for instance, pizzas and fish and chips were high in SFA, many Chinese meals were high in salt, kebabs were high in fat, SFA, and salt and some of the meals were very high in sugar, specifically sweet and sour meals.
Recipe reformulation was successfully used to improve the nutritional composition of a takeaway meal by reducing the amount of salt and fat, and sensory acceptance testing showed consumers preferred the reformulated recipe in comparison with the original recipe (p = 0.011)
Conclusions – Takeaway consumption in Merseyside was commonplace and analysis of takeaway food highlights the need for reductions in energy, fat, SFA, salt (or sugar) in takeaway food served due to the negative health outcomes of frequent consumption. Furthermore, a takeaway meal was successfully reformulated to be lower in salt and fat without being detrimental to acceptability with consumers, showing that healthier takeaways can be prepared when working in partnership with chefs in takeaway outlets.
Contribution to knowledge – Encouraging independent takeaways to make small gradual changes when preparing meals and continuing to do so, could have a positive impact on the health of the population of Merseyside and work towards reducing the gap in health inequalities. These findings will add to the existing evidence base and help to inform governments public health policies to improve the health of takeaway consumers in the UK.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: away from home food; energy density; energy reduction; fast food; fat reduction; food away from home; frequency of consumption; hot food takeaway; independent outlets; independent takeaways; nutritional composition; portion size; public health nutrition; recipe reformulation; reformulation; salt; salt reduction; saturated fatty acids; sensory evaluation; sodium; takeaway consumption; takeaway food; trans fatty acids; tfa; sfa
Subjects: T Technology > TX Home economics > TX341 Nutrition. Foods and food supply
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2023 15:42
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2024 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00020540
Supervisors: Davies, I, Stevenson, L and Abayomi, J
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20540
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