Council chiefs are working with takeaways to tackle one of the biggest public health issues facing Wolverhampton. Members of the City of Wolverhampton Council's Environmental Health have teamed up with proprietors to help them serve up healthier options – and in doing so, do their bit to address high levels of obesity in the city. Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Nearly 70% of adults in Wolverhampton are either overweight or obese, and with around one in six meals we eat made outside the home, our environmental health officers are working with local takeaways to offer healthier options or make changes to ingredients or cooking techniques.
“This is not about telling customers what they can and cannot have, but about encouraging takeaways to offer healthier alternatives which customers can choose if they so wish.”
Over the last year, officers have worked with 18 takeaways, from fish and chip shops to pizzerias, balti houses and Chinese takeaways.
They include Tiger, on Bilston Road, which has introduced a Healthier Choices menu, offering dishes which come in under 500 calories, and Oxley Fish Bar on Stafford Road, which now provides calorie information for its grill menu and new options including spicy chips - half fried and half roasted chips with lemon and pepper seasoning, onions and peppers.
Lakshmi Sweet Centre on Dudley Road has reformulated a selection of recipes and is looking to provide nutritional information to customers, while others takeaways that are involved in the project include East Park Chippy on Hollington Road, Penn Balti on Penn Road and Dave’s Fish Bar, Brooklands Parade.
Xue Jiao Han of Tiger said: "I wanted to start selling new and different dishes. Getting involved in this project gave me the support to offer healthier food without losing the flavour of the food, which is most important. The response from customers has been very positive."
Kam Kaur of Oxley Fish Bar added: “As well as providing calorie information on the menu, we are now also reducing the amount of salt available from our shakers.
“Our customers have embraced the change and have reduced their salt intake as a result. It also means we now only need to buy half the amount of salt we did previously.”
A recent survey found that two thirds of people would buy healthier options from their takeaway if they were available, while 77% said they would be encouraged to visit a takeaway if it advertised healthier options.
Councillor Sweet added: “When we are all so busy, it is easy simply stick to what we know, but this initiative seeks to make healthy options a viable alternative.
“Through this pilot project we also hope to learn from each business what works and what doesn’t, so that other businesses can think about making similar changes.”