Business leaders in the fish and chips industry are calling on the government to offer a “long-term strategy” for their food shortages – or face a third of Chippies’ closures.
The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) has warned that the four main ingredients that make up a traditional fish and chip dish have been badly affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine – forcing shops to close their menus change, raise prices or, in the worst case, close.
The UK relies mainly on Ukraine for sunflower oil. The NFFF has said 50% of the oil used by Britain’s fish and chip shops comes from the war-torn country – and alternatives such as rapeseed oil and palm oil have skyrocketed in price.
40% of cod and haddock come from Russia – and UK sanctions on Russian whitefish will make these North Sea supplies scarcer and more expensive.
Fertilizers for potatoes – mainly from Russia – have tripled in price. The flour used for fish batter mixtures also comes from the region.
As a result, there is a global shortage of key ingredients, meaning costs are skyrocketing as profit margins dwindle.
Knights is a fish and chip shop in Glastonbury.
Believed to be one of the oldest family-run chippies in Britain, having started trading in Somerset during the reign of Queen Victoria.
The influence of COVID and the cost of living crisis have hit family businesses like this hard.
“The worst times are ahead”
George Morey, 29, runs the diner.
The family business survived two world wars, recessions and a global pandemic.
But George is concerned that the war in Ukraine could be the nail in the coffin.
He said: ‘Will there be enough (fish) if we refuse to buy Russian white fish? It’s a really big concern.
“Do we need to think about finding another product for the menu to replace fish and chips – could the impact be that extreme? I think if prices keep going up maybe we’ll keep that in mind.”
George added, “We have to prepare for the worst of times and I think this is possibly the greatest challenge the fish and chips industry has ever faced.”
Entrepreneur James Lipscombe owns 40 fish and chip shops across the country.
He has diversified his stock range and added lesser-known fish such as hake to the menu to offer affordable meals to his regular customers.
He told Sky News: “I’ve never seen anything like it.
“I’m seeing a number of fish and chip shop closures across the UK week in and week out I see shops closing and it’s a really sad state of affairs.”
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He added: “We’ve been doing this as a family for a really long time. We have been in this industry for almost 100 years. It is sad to see what is happening without these companies being responsible.”
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Industry leaders are desperate for intervention.
Andrew Crook, President of the National Federation of Fish Friers, is urging the government to act more urgently.
He told Sky News that many of his members believe those in power “don’t care about the potential harm” his sector is facing.
“Act now! We must act before long-term damage occurs that cannot be repaired,” he said.
“We’re not after handouts. We are a proud industry. But many companies will hit the wall and we need a long-term strategy to prevail.”
A government spokesman told Sky News he would “continue to speak to the industry body, the National Federation of Fish Friers and other industry representatives about the current pressures they are facing”.
The future of this seaside staple remains unclear.
But there are fears if the situation doesn’t change, it means reduced availability – and potentially higher prices – for those seeking one of the nation’s most popular dishes.
Food shortages could force ‘a third’ of fish and chip shops to close | UK News
Source link Food shortages could force ‘a third’ of fish and chip shops to close | UK News