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Chefs aren't cutting back on sugar, salt or fat, survey finds

20 June 2016 by
Chefs aren't cutting back on sugar, salt or fat, survey finds

The majority of chefs are not taking steps to reduce sugar, fat or salt in their restaurant dishes, according to a recent survey.

Research from hospitality recruiter the Change Group found that only 29% said they were actively reducing fat, with the same percentage reducing salt and just over a quarter (27%) reducing sugar.

Out of the 100 chefs surveyed, 85% said they thought it was up to the individual customer to take responsibility for a balanced diet, while less than one in three (29%) thought restaurants had a part to play.

Chefs also said schools and colleges (42%), food manufacturers (32%) and the government (24%) should take more responsibility.

But 27% of the chefs said restaurants should not be made responsible for helping to reduce obesity.

More than half (56%) also said they did not think restaurants should be providing customers with more nutritional information such as salt, fat and sugar content.

While diet and nutrition-related questions produced a mix bag of results, those concerning allergens and intolerances were far more consistent across the board.

Almost nine out of 10 chefs (89%) said they were taking food intolerances into account when planning menus compared with 55% who said they did not consider diet and nutrition as part of their approach.

Gluten gets the most consideration with 94%, followed by dairy (82%), peanut (72%) and egg (59%) intolerances.

Yet 55% of the chefs surveyed said restaurants should provide customers with better balanced and more nutritious meals.

Craig Allen, co-owner of the Change Group, said: "There is so much debate about food at the moment that we wanted to get a sense of what chefs think about their role in diet and nutrition.

"When we recruit for the top London restaurants, the emphasis is on experience, skills, knowledge of flavours, cuisines and techniques. We are very rarely asked about a chef's training in diet and nutrition. But this could change given the high focus on food right now."

"Our research suggests that at the moment, the priority for chefs and restaurants seems to be on adapting to food intolerances and allergies. But the next generation of chefs could become much more focused on combining outstanding flavour with dishes that provide balanced nutrition."

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Allergens: do you know your ingredients? >>

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