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Kent fish and chip shop prices rise as cost of cod and oil go up


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Chippies across Kent say they fear for their futures as the cost of fish continues to rise.

Meal prices have sky-rocketed as vendors are forced to pass the burden onto customers, while one van operating in Swale has already shut after refusing to charge £14 for a cod supper.

The 160-year-old industry is going through a tough period as prices continue to soar
The 160-year-old industry is going through a tough period as prices continue to soar

Al’s Chippy, which drove around Sittingbourne, ceased trading last month after owner Alex Moore struggled to make a profit.

He had had to raise the price for a fish and chip meal from £5.80 to £9.70 in the nine months since he started the business, and to keep going would have had to go up another fiver.

He fears it could spell the end of the cheap and cheerful Friday night favourite.

Hashim Khan, who works at the Cod Father in Courtenay Road, Maidstone, said "We have fewer customers because the prices are going up.

"A box of fish used to be £155 now it’s £230."

Alex Moore, owner of Al's Chippy in Sittingbourne had to close this year
Alex Moore, owner of Al's Chippy in Sittingbourne had to close this year

Their price for a large cod and chips has increased by more than 11% from £8.50 to £9.50 over the past couple months.

Over in Sittingbourne High Street, The Black Pearl has increased the price of a meal by 11%, from £6.30 to £7, in recent months.

Manager Abdulhaki Tastkin, 30, said: "It’s really bad.

"Two months ago it was £130 for one crate of fish which is almost £200 now.

"Three months ago vegetable oil cost £27, now it’s £45."

The Black Pearl, fish and chip shop based in Sittingbourne, they have had to raise their prices to match production costs (57447359)
The Black Pearl, fish and chip shop based in Sittingbourne, they have had to raise their prices to match production costs (57447359)

Since Brexit in January 2020 rising operating costs, high demand and shortages of fresh catch has caused fish import prices to increase.

That is coupled with the current conflict in Ukraine, which has seen the UK impose import tariffs and bans on more than £1bn of Russian goods.

The country, however, supplies around 40% of the UK’s cod and haddock, while Ukraine and Russia are the top two producers of sunflower oil, used in frying.

Ahmed Ali, 36, who manages the Island Fish Bar in Sheerness High Street, said: "We have fewer customers, business is not as busy as before, we don’t know what will happen but we hope for the best."

Their price for a regular cod and chips as risen from £6.40 to £7.90 over recent months, a 23% increase.

Island Fish Bar, fish and chips shop based in Sheerness, says it hopes for a better future
Island Fish Bar, fish and chips shop based in Sheerness, says it hopes for a better future

Jason Cooper from Coopers of Kent Seafood, a seafood market in Sevenoaks, has cut back on selling to fish bars.

He says importing the quantity they need is so expensive it means it is increasingly hard for him to make a profit.

He added: "The cost of transportation, fishing demand, importation costs, and panic buying is too much.

"Everyone’s suffering the duty costs and fuel costs."

He added: "The price of cod is a shame, it’s just increasing daily and weekly."

Britons spend around £1.2bn a year on fish and chips
Britons spend around £1.2bn a year on fish and chips

According to the National Federation of Fish Friers, 62% of fish sold in chip shops is cod and 25% is haddock.

It fears as many as a third of all 10,500 chippies across the nation could go under as a result of the crisis gripping the industry.

This means the industry, which Britons spend £1.2bn a year on, could see businesses go bust if people choose to turn away.

It’s an issue Michael Papa Adams from Papa’s Barn in London Road, Aylesford, is trying to remain optimistic about, however.

The shop partner said he is trying to keep his regular cod and chips meal at £7.50, adding: "Were trying to maintain a good price.

Owners of Papa's Barn in Aylesford, Theo and Michael Papa-Adams.
Owners of Papa's Barn in Aylesford, Theo and Michael Papa-Adams.

"I think the current situation is having a knock-on effect in every industry, but I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom.

"It’s challenging.

"At the moment there are businesses that can’t sustain it, but were okay, this is the longest-surviving fast-food takeaway tradition in Britain, it needs positivity.

"It’s a great meal."

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