New Zealand’s love of hot chips, wedges and fries shows no signs of stopping, especially when they are served on someone else’s plate. A new survey from The Coffee Club has revealed that 84 percent of Kiwis experience chip theft when dining with others.

The survey of 540 people looked into how often Kiwis have their hot chips stolen, who the most likely culprit is and just how annoying it is when someone takes chips without asking.

Partners are most likely to snaffle hot chips, according to 38 percent of responders. Seventy percent claimed that they ask before taking. However, only 54 percent said that people ask before taking theirs. The remaining 45 percent simply help themselves.

“It’s clearly a hot-button topic with diners,” said Andy Lucas, director of The Coffee Club. “We had a wide range of responses, with many people saying they are happy to share, and a number of others confessing to never ordering their own, but being happy to take some from others.”

The main issue with chip taking appears to come from those who don’t order chips, but then take some from another person’s plate. Forty-six percent of responders said it annoys them when people do this, with only 27 percent saying it doesn’t bother them. A few of those surveyed openly admitted to doing this deliberately, with one responder saying:

“I'm a stealer, I won't order them for myself but I'll always steal a couple off my partner’s plate!”

When asked how annoying someone taking your chips ranked, 41 percent said it was annoying, but there are worse behaviours when eating with other people. Only 5 percent said it was the most annoying thing when dining.

“Overall, it seems chips are a nice social food to have. Just over half of responders said they were happy to share theirs,” added Andy Lucas. “But the data clearly shows that it depends on who you’re dining with. If you’re out with your partner, you’re probably going to lose a few, whereas it seems you’re pretty safe when dining with your mum or dad, so if you don’t like sharing, you should dine with them!”