Brits have shared their fears over the future of fish and chips as experts suggested the price of a standard supper could soar above £10, as the UK’s surging cost of living now threatens the nation’s most beloved takeaway. cost
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London, Essex and Bristol are home to some of the most expensive chippies in the UK, while those tucking into their haddock further north in Newcastle or Liverpool can expect to pay less than £9 a portion.
But industry experts warned that supplies of mushy peas, cod and haddock have already become the latest casualties during Britain’s soaring cost of living crisis – and could soon push the price of a portion of fish and chips over £10.
Fish and chip lovers in the North East today told MailOnline they feared any significant price hikes could kill local tourism and turn the simple dish into a once in a while treat.
With inflation now hitting Britain’s most famous takeaway, fears are growing that rising costs could also make curries, kebabs and Chinese takeout more expensive in the future.
Factors leading to price hikes also include smaller catches and a jump in global demand, particularly from America where buyers are hoovering up cod caught in waters around Norway.
Chippy owners across the country have also pointed to skyrocketing electricity and packaging costs – with some reporting bills rising from £400 to £2,000 a month.
London, Essex and Bristol are home to some of the most expensive chippies in the UK, while those tucking into their haddock further north in Newcastle or Liverpool can expect to pay less than £9 a portion
But several punters in London said they weren’t surprised a portion of fish and chips could soon set them back up to £10
Antoni Tsiolas (pictured) who runs Bestwood Fisheries in Nottinghamshire, fears for the future of mushy peas as wholesale costs continue to soar
This week, the National Federation of Fish Friers warned that cod supplies have become 75 per cent more expensive compared to last October.
The cost of buying mushy peas has also doubled, the industry body said, while shops are suffering from soaring packaging prices and energy bills.
On top of this, there will also be a return to 20 per cent VAT from April, potentially pushing the price of your fish supper over a tenner.
But there are already stark differences in the cost of a portion of cod and chips, depending on which part of the country you live.
London may often be ridiculed for exorbitant prices, but buying fish and chips appears to be largely in line with the rest of the country. A large cod and chips can cost around £9.90 in the capital, just ten pence under the expected new rise.
But in Greenwich, some fish bars are selling large cod and chips for almost £13 already.
Dearken Denktash, 46, owner of The Pier Fish and Chips on Greenwich Church Street, put his prices up today by 50p meaning a medium cod and chips had gone up to £7.95.
He said: ‘I actually put my prices up today because my council tax has increased.
‘If the government are going to increase the energy prices and cost of living for us, that means we have to increase the food prices for you guys. It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation but that’s how business works.’
Meanwhile, a large cod and chips can cost punters as little as £7.95 in Newcastle, while cod-lovers living in Cardiff can expect to pay just £7 for a large fish and chips.
In Bristol and Essex, a large haddock and chips could set you back an eye-watering £11.40. But in coastal hotspots renowned for their local catches such as Blackpool, the price is significantly lower at £8.10.
Across the border, the average price of a fish supper has remained just under £10 in both Glasgow (£9.95) and Edinburgh (£9).
And Belfast, a normal portion of cod and chips (£7.30) would comfortably give you change from a ten pound note at present.
GREENWICH, LONDON: The prices of fish and chips in the capital can hit upwards of £12
BOURNEMOUTH: A large cod and chips in Bournemouth can cost up to £11
CARDIFF: But in the Welsh capital, the same dish could cost as little as £7
GRISMBY: The seaside town famed for its local catches charges less than £8 for a portion of cod and chips
EASTBOURNE: Fish bars in the resort town already charge around £9 for the popular takeaway
BIRMINGHAM: Cod and chips in the Midlands can set a punter back between £8 and £9
The National Federation of Fish Friers warned that wholesale prices of cod have jumped 75 per cent in the past year while haddock is up 81 per cent, mushy peas 120 per cent and batter 40 per cent.
Federation president Andrew Crook said a typical portion of fish and chips currently costs between £6.50 and £9, but many of his 10,500 members will soon be forced to charge £10.
He charges £7.50 at his shop in Euxton, Lancashire, but added: ‘It could soon be over £10 and others are likely to do the same.
‘Rising costs are really putting us under pressure and will push some out of business.’
Businesses, fish and chip shops do not benefit from the energy price caps available to households and Mr Crook said VAT rates had been reduced during the pandemic but were due to return to 20 per cent in April.
In the popular tourist town of Greenwich on the banks of the River Thames in south east London, a classic cod and chips can cost anywhere between £7.95 and £12.90.
Both locals and tourists alike are ‘disappointed’ with the prices in the area, but not surprised.
Eric Graham, 58, explained : ‘To be honest we’ve always paid those kind of prices in London.’
When asked if the price hike would put him off the classic British supper, the record-seller from Eltham, south east London added: ‘Put it this way – if it goes up any more I will be shopping around for somewhere cheaper.
‘There’s always a maximum price you’re willing to pay for something.’
The general consensus among the public is that £10 for a portion of chips is overpriced but to be expected in London.
Moury, 18, added: ‘You used to be able to get fish and chips for a fiver so it’s doubled.
‘But to be honest if prices were to go up more it wouldn’t put me off because I’m so used to that in London.
‘My budget for a meal tends to be between £10 and £15 anyway.’
Friends, Rachel, Victoria and Giselle, who were visiting Greenwich from Birmingham, agreed that the chippy prices didn’t shock them but said they’d be cutting back on how often they splurge on the signature British takeaway now.
Giselle Barker, 20, said: ‘I feel like it depends on the meal size. If it was a huge portion then I could probably justify it.’
Rachel Wright, 20, added: ‘I’ll definitely be buying fish and chips less frequently now.’
Friends (from left) Giselle Barker, Rachel Wright and Victoria Wright, who were visiting Greenwich from Birmingham, agreed that the chippy prices didn’t shock them but said they’d be cutting back on how often they splurge on the signature British takeaway now
Dearken Denktash, 46, (pictured) owner of The Pier Fish and Chips on Greenwich Church Street, put his prices up today by 50p meaning a medium cod and chips had gone up from £7.45 to £7.95
Antoni Tsiolas, who runs Bestwood Fisheries in Nottinghamshire, said he also fears for the future of mushy peas as wholesale costs continue to soar.
The chippy currently charges £1.30 for a 7oz carton of the regional delicacy, but that could be going up by a further 20p soon because bags of dried peas have almost doubled in price.
He explained: ‘The minute I heard they [prices] were going up I tried to buy in bulk 50 bags of peas. It sounds ridiculous but it would be a difference of £200.
‘It’s a lot of money. The supplier said we couldn’t because there’s a shortage.’
Even loyalist customers might find his hikes hard to swallow, but Mr Tsiolas said the rocketing prices of everything left him and fellow chip shop owners with no choice.
Claire Fisher, who runs Nottingham’s Mushy Pea Stall in Victoria Market, said she’s also paying an extra £8 per bag and is having to consider passing some of those costs back to her customers.
‘They’ve gone up twice. When I was told they were going up I expected it to be 20p or 30p but it was £4, then not so long ago, I found out they were going up again.
‘They are £20 something a bag. They used to be around £6 or £8 when I first started six years ago. I know things go up but surely not that much.
‘To go up that much is a lot. At the moment trade isn’t back to what it was so you’re not selling like you used to.’
The National Federation of Fish Friers warned that cod supplies have become 75 per cent more expensive than in October as the British classic could cost upwards of £10 (stock image)
Mr Crook said: ‘It’s frightening. I’ve been in business 22 years, I’ve never seen anything like this. This is definitely the biggest threat to the industry that we’ve seen.
‘There are people who are struggling to explain to their families that they have no money coming in – they’re not making a profit.’
Mr Crook warned that the Russian invasion of Ukraine could also trigger further increases in the future.
He said 40 per cent of white fish comes from Russia ‘and much of our rapeseed and sunflower oil comes from the Ukraine’.
He added: ‘I think we need to respect fish as we do steak. It is the last hunted commodity and is controlled by tight quotas to ensure the stocks are sustainable but what we are facing is the perfect storm.’
Looking ahead, Mr Crook is concerned about future supplies of British potatoes.
‘We are hearing that farmers are not planning on planting as much acreage this year as they don’t have the staff to harvest and grade them,’ he said.
David Miller, who runs a chippy in Haxby, North Yorkshire, said the dish has been underpriced for too long, adding that shops have a ‘tsunami of costs coming’.
Shop owners are also having to battle with smaller catches and a rise in global demand, both of which are leading to price hikes.
Britons are already facing an impending cost of living crisis due mainly to spiralling gas prices.
Andrew Crook, the president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, said the cost of cod for his shop Skipper’s in Euxton has soared from £8 per kilogram to nearly £14 (stock image)
A horse-drawn travelling fish and chip shop provides a welcome meal to a group of hikers by the roadside in Selkirk, 1937
Earlier this month, hospitality bosses warned diners that they face forking out as much as 20 per cent extra on their total bill by the end of this year.
The increase includes a 14 per cent rise in the price of drinks, which could send average pint prices across the UK from £3.94 to as much as £4.49.
Pub-goers in London, where average pints are £5.19, could rise above £6-a-pint – already a norm in many of the capital’s watering holes.
Hospitality chiefs also warn food bills could rise by as much as 17 per cent, which could push the average main course up from £11.87 to £13.89 and starters from £6.31 to £7.38.
And an average 175ml glass of wine costing £4.01 in the UK could rise to £4.47, while a spike in the cost of tonic water could send the cost of G&Ts spiralling.
Pub-goers looking for a quick snack to soak up their drinks won’t be able to avoid the increase either, with crisp prices set to rise by around 7 per cent – knocking an average packet of crisps up from 70p to 75p.
Hospitality bosses said the increase has been driven by a huge spike in labour costs and the return of the 20 per cent VAT rate in April – on top of energy price rises which are also set to hit Britons in the pocket at home.
The history of fish and chips
Historian Denise Phillips said that Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe brought the first recipes for fried fish into Britain in the early to mid 1800s.
They then started to open ‘fried fish warehouses’ – a term mentioned in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, published as a serial between 1837 and 1839.
Back then, the fried fish would be coated in breadcrumbs rather than batter. Initially sold for just pennies, the tasty takeaway proved to be an instant hit with Brits.
The fish and chip trade boomed in 20th century Britain. Pictured: Sandra Dimarco helping out at her parents’ fish and chip shop in Leominster, Herefordshire, 22nd March 1966
It’s thought the first fried fish warehouse to serve fish with chips was opened in Bow, London, in 1860 by Joseph Malin – a Jewish immigrant from eastern Europe.
Due to the popularity of that combination, Malin’s ‘fish bar’ would serve up fresh fish and chips for more than a century.
But some say the pairing was the brainchild of entrepreneur John Lees in 1863, who had a fish and chip hut in Lancashire.
Regardless the combination was a booming success with Victorian England and by the 1930s, Britain had more than 35,000 active fish and chip shops.
By the 20th century, there were even the first semblances of food delivery services, with a horse-drawn travelling fish and chip shop providing hot meals by the roadside in England.
The importance of the national dish was solidified during the Second World War, when Prime Minister Winston Churchill decided not to ration fish and chips to maintain spirits, fondling referring to them as ‘good companions’.
Today, 10,500 fish and chip shops remain and serve around 380million meals each year.