CHIPPIES are depriving customers of 15 chips a meal by serving food in smaller boxes in the latest fight against obesity.

The shops have also lopped 6oz off each fillet of fish after being lectured on the dangers of “excessive portion sizes”.

A standard portion of fish and chips typically contains 1,658 calories, 79 per cent of a woman’s guideline daily intake.

But the new meals are a third smaller, with just 650 calories.

They contain two scoops of chips, rather than three, and a 6oz (170g) fillet of battered fish, rather than 9oz (255g).

One scoop contains around 15 chips, depending on the size of the cut.

Researchers from the University of Newcastle worked with a fish and chip wholesaler to try and encourage healthier eating.

Shop owners and staff were given lessons in nutrition and asked to promote smaller portions by putting up posters in store.

They were told the smaller offering would appeal to new and existing customers who are becoming more health conscious.

Posters included messages such as “We don’t want to overload you, so we want to offer you a lighter bite – a smaller portion of delicious and nutritious fish and chips at a smaller price.”

Customers could continue to purchase standard size meals, for around £6.40, or the smaller ones for around £4.

Small portions accounted for one in five of all meals sold by the end of the trial.

The wholesaler has since sold 12million of the smaller boxes to independent fish and chip shops around the country in the past year.

Researchers said the small portions were well received by customers and owners and now hope to identify other takeaway restaurants that could also benefit from offering smaller portion sizes.

Study leader Louis Goffe said: “Takeaway and fast food meals, particularly from independent businesses, have been found to deliver excessive energy by means of large portion sizes, driving high-energy consumption, which is a major public health concern.

“I love fish and chips and this research aims to find a way that we can have our fish and chip treat – but less of it.

“We focussed on coming up with a solution which provides a healthier meal option but equally importantly works for the fish and chip shop owners.

“The sales show that there is a demand for smaller portion meals and we hope this will act as a template for others in the fast-food sector to follow.”

She added: “We found that owners and customers welcomed the scheme, demonstrating that it is feasible to work collaboratively with industry in this sector to promote healthier takeaway food.”

David Pascoe, from Green Lane Fisheries in South Shields, said: “The LiteBITE box has been really popular, especially with older customers.

“A lot of customers don’t like a full portion so we can put a smaller one in the box and it’s really flexible.

“Some people can’t eat a full portion or prefer a smaller one – and we’ve found they like the smaller size and then come back another time.”

There are 10,500 fish and chip shops in the UK.

Public Health England want restaurants and takeaways to cut calories from meals.

They suggest people eat no more than 600 calories for lunch and 600 for dinner.

The findings are published in the journal BMJ Open.