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Milk chocolate, cheddar and margherita pizza: Britain’s most coveted meals, according to scientists

Britain IS NOT fond of fish and chips: chocolate, cheddar and pizza margherita are the country’s most coveted meals and treats, according to scientists… and a full English isn’t even in the top 10!

  • Scientists who surveyed Britons found that chocolate and cheese are the most sought-after snacks
  • Items from chains also scored highly, such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC
  • The most wanted healthy option was an orange – ranked 13th out of 500

Fish and chips are not Britain’s favorite food, scientists claimed today.

And even a full English doesn’t make it to the top 20.

Instead, chocolate, cheddar, and margherita pizza tops the pile of the country’s most beloved treats.

Researchers surveyed more than 2,000 Britons about their food preferences to compile a ranking of the UK’s most sought-after items.

Fish and chips – a staple of British cuisine – came fourth, just ahead of spaghetti bolognese.

Snacks from McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut also made the top 10.

Oranges were the most sought-after healthy option, ranking 13th on a list of 500 foods that people were asked to comment on.

At the other end of the scale came samphire – a salty-tasting vegetable, similar to asparagus, usually served with seafood.

Scientists, who surveyed more than 2,000 Britons about their food preferences, found that milk chocolate, cheddar and Margherita pizza are the most sought-after snacks, along with fish and chips, spaghetti bolognese and ridge-cut chips. Chain items also ranked highest on the craving scale, with McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder, Pizza Hut’s Pepperoni Feast and KFC’s Fillet Tower Burger all making the top 10

What should a balanced diet look like?

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Basic meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grains

• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat muesli biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, and a large baked potato with skin

• Provide dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) and choose lower-fat, lower-sugar options

• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which is fatty)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small quantities

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water per day

• Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day

Chicory and marrow rounded out the three least drooling foods.

Researchers at Cardiff University have created a database of people’s opinions on foods that other scientists can use in their own studies.

They asked 2,150 people in the UK to share their perceptions of the taste and healthfulness of 520 foods, as well as how much they crave them.

The items – either pastries, savory treats, desserts, take-out food, cookies, confectionery, fruits or vegetables – were shown in photos for them.

For cravings, they were asked ‘how much have you craved this food in the past 7 days?’, on a scale from ‘not at all’ to ‘extremely’.

The answers were then translated by scientists into a score out of 100.

On average, milk chocolate was craved with a score of 59.5.

It was followed by cheddar (49.6), pizza Margherita (48.4), fish and chips (46.7), and spaghetti Bolognese (45.7).

Other items in the top 20 included ridge-cut chips, sweet chilli chips, chocolate cupcakes, roast beef, a full English and biscuits.

Samphire had a craving score of only 2.2, followed by chicory (2.7) and marrow (2.9).

The findings were published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

The researchers, led by researcher Dr. Mark Randle, noted that high-energy foods “are usually highly desirable and inform the subjective experiences of taste and food cravings.”

They said, “These are often processed foods high in fat, salt, or sugar, with the exception of fruits that have been reported to be commonly craved.”

Volunteers rated healthy foods “significantly lower” on how good they tasted compared to junk foods, the team noted.

And participants who felt hungry when they shared their thoughts about the food were more likely to rank junk food higher and healthy food lower, they said.


Most Desired Foods

Milk chocolate


Margherita pizza

Fish & chips

Spaghetti bolognese

Ridge cut chips

McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder

Pizza Hut Pepperoni Party

Chocolate Cupcake

KFC Filet Tower burger

Sweet chili chips

Domino’s Mighty Meaty


chocolate cake

Hard cheese

Roast beef

Chocolate cookies

Cadbury’s chocolate buttons

Full English breakfast

Double chocolate chip cookie

Least desired foods








broad beans

Fig roll



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