7:10am Monday 21st February 2011
THE biggest survey of the nation’s chip-eating habits, conducted to coincide with National Chip Week - from today until Sunday - reveals an insight into our enduring love affair with the humble fried potato.
Curly or straight, open or wrapped, salt and vinegar or ketchup, The Chip Report, commissioned by Potato Council, maps out chip-eating habits and answers enduring questions such as why do women think it’s OK to “share” their man’s chips and how many of us really eat chips in bed? Key findings include:
To share or not to share? When it comes to sharing our chips, it clearly depends who’s asking. While most of us are happy to share with a friend or partner if asked (94% and 90%), this falls to 55% if it’s the boss doing the asking. It also seems that women are a bit more charitable, with more women than men thinking it’s OK to share, whoever asks. The exception appears to be on a first date.
Dating dilemmas: The Chip Report reveals an interest divide when it comes to first date etiquette: While 61% of men think it’s acceptable for their date to “share” their chips uninvited, this only applies to 46% of women.
Psychological and dating expert, Phillip Hodson explains the logic of chip-sharing: “Whether they are aware of it or not, many women take a “hair shirt” approach to eating out while on a date and don’t order what they want. They believe that punishing themselves and not ordering what really takes their fancy makes them a better person. However, when this does happen, they are likely to just pinch chips from their date’s plate anyway.
“Women are also falling into the trap of believing that men prefer women who don’t have a big appetite. This is simply not true as most men prefer women with whom they can enjoy the simple pleasures in life, including eating food - particularly at a time of economic uncertainty such as the one we are in currently.”
Other findings of The Chip report include:
We have a low “chip rustling” tolerance: We all know that some women would rather pinch chips from their man’s plate than order their own but just how many do we think is an acceptable number? Half of us (51%) will only tolerate one or two to be pinched from our plates but when the boot is on the other foot, two-thirds (65%) think it’s OK to pinch a couple from someone else’s. The vast majority of us though (87.5%) will tolerate no more than a handful of chips being “liberated”.
The chippy is still king of the take-aways: Despite the many contenders on our high streets - the chip shop is still considered king of the take-aways by most people (73%).
Younger people don’t give a monkey’s: While almost half of us (47%) prefer to eat chips with a knife and fork, this drops to 24% among 16-24 year-olds, who like to get stuck in with their fingers (38% vs 25% for the total population).
We’re going Continental (well, some of us are): While salt and vinegar remain the people’s preferred condiment overall (37%), this appears to be on the wane, with younger generations preferring ketchup or mayonnaise. One in five 25 to 34-year-olds say mayonnaise is their favourite, while a whopping 40% of 16-24 year-olds plump for tomato ketchup as their first choice. Mayo is also more popular among women, with 15% saying it is their preferred condiment (vs 8% men).
Things are different in London: When it comes to toppings, Londoners buck the national trend as the only region in Britain to prefer ketchup to salt and vinegar.
Anything goes for the youngsters: For 16 to 24-year-olds, it’s a case of any time, anywhere when it comes to chip eating. This age group is most likely eat them “on-the-go” with 55% regularly eating them while walking down the street and nearly a quarter (22%) enjoying them on their way home from a night out.
Frying tonight: While chip shop chips emerge as the nation’s favourite type overall (a quarter of us like these best), there is clearly a generational divide: Younger people are the most likely to cite long, thin fries as their favourite type of chip, matching chip shop chips in popularity. If you’re 55 or over, however, you are just as likely to enjoy home-made chips as chip shop chips.
Chips under cover: While our love of chips is without question, some of us clearly take it to extremes, with a minority of us (7%) enjoying chips in bed.
Potato Council’s Caroline Evans said: “Each year we eat around 1.7 million tonnes of chips a year in various forms and thanks to The Chip Report now have a clearer picture of the different ways in which they are enjoyed by different age groups, genders and parts of the country.
“It’s no surprise that we as a nation love chips - they come in so many different forms, from oven chips that are easy straight from the freezer and less than five per cent fat to homemade, to the nations’ favourite take-away. National Chip Week is a chance to celebrate this great British tradition.”
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group