Why one Nottinghamshire council wants healthier takeaway meals on the menu

Healthier takeaways
Healthier takeaways

Takeaway meals have become a staple ingredient in the diets of busy people but they are not always seen as a healthy option.

But now Newark & Sherwood District Council has decided to join in the ‘hot’ or healthier options takeaway scheme, which offers a ‘hot’ Merit award to any participating takeaway that meets the criteria for putting healthier options on their menu.

Small changes on the foods offered or the way food is prepared, cooked and served can make a big difference without compromising on taste

Mel Coton, health improvement officer

Health improvement officer Mel Coton said small changes could make a big difference to takeaway customers and the scheme offers benefits to participating businesses too.

Said Mel: “Many takeaways, restaurants, cafes and coffee shops already offer healthier options and display information about them on their menus, whereas other venues may offer them without realising the potential to promote them.

“Small changes on the foods offered or the way food is prepared, cooked and served can make a big difference without compromising on taste.”

Examples include switching from frying food to offering grilled, baked or steamed alternatives, removing salt from tables and counters, offering smaller portions for adults or switching from double cream to single or yoghurt.

Added Mel: “Takeaways could put unsweetened fruit juices on the menu, offer vegetable or side-salad options or wholemeal bread and wholegrain pasta

“Increasing customer choice means increased customer satisfaction, so it enhances the reputation of the business. Successful applicants also receive a certificate and promotional material, and recognition of their achievement on the Newark & Sherwood District Council website and via social media.”

To be eligible for the ‘hot’ award, takeaways must have a food hygiene rating of three or higher (the top score is five), must fill in the self-assessment form and get a qualifying score of at least 60 per cent, and make three new pledges of healthier options on their menus.

Once a ‘hot’ merit is awarded it lasts for two years – unless the ownership of the takeaway or the style of its cuisine changes, or unless a complaint arises that healthier options are not being offered.

The council also has the right to remove the award if the food hygiene rating drops below three.

The scheme is being adopted by districts throughout Nottinghamshire as part of the strategy to combat obesity and has already been a success in Derbyshire.

For more information, forms and guidance search for hot award on the council’s website or contact Mel 0n 01636 655990 for help and information.