The price of dried marrowfat peas, which are soaked and simmered to make the traditional side dish, has rocketed up in recent years. Antoni Tsiolas, who runs Bestwood Fisheries in Nottingham, said he was paying just under £9 for a bag of dried peas before Brexit and the pandemic.
However, he told NottinghamshireLive the price rose to £13.99 and has increased yet again to £17.99.
Ms Tsiolas, who runs the fish and chip shop with his cousin George Keliris, said: “It’s doubled. I haven’t got a clue why.
“The minute I heard they 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.”
The price hike means that Bestwood Fisheries may be forced to raise the price of its mushy peas, which are currently £1.30 for a carton. Ms Tsiolas said this could go up by a further 20p soon.
He said: “I don’t think £1.50 is a lot. Four pence of that will be VAT. I don’t use polystyrene, I use cardboard cartons which are recyclable and that’s costing an extra three pence and the price of peas has gone up.
“We buy the peas dried. They have to be soaked and we add our own flavourings with butter, salt and sugar. I have still got to pay someone to make them. They don’t just come out of a tin ready.
“You’ve got to support your staff as well. None of my staff are on minimum wage but in April I will give them a little bit of an increase.”
The National Federation of Fish Friers has said the cost of peas has more than doubled while cod supplies have become 75 percent more expensive since October alone, the Mirror reported.
The industry body said that customers could soon expect to pay more than £10 for the traditional dish while chip shop owners grapple with rising packaging costs and energy bills on top of spiralling food costs.
Its chief Andrew Crook, who runs Skipper’s chip shop in Euxton, Lancashire, said a portion currently costs between £6.50 and £9.
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“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.”
Ms Fisher said the escalating costs put local businesses in jeopardy as owners fear it could push people to seek out cheaper meals elsewhere.
She said: “People are not going to pay £3 of £4 for a bowl of peas when you can have a meal somewhere for that.
“It’s something definitely at risk if it keeps going up and you can’t keep putting your prices up.”