Battering in store for fish and chip costs

THE COST of fish and chips could take a battering due to the rocketing fuel costs and rise by up to 50%.Fuel for trawlers has risen so much that fishermen in the region could pass on their extra costs by increasing the price of fish.

Richard Smith

THE COST of fish and chips could take a battering due to the rocketing fuel costs and rise by up to 50%.

Fuel for trawlers has risen so much that fishermen in the region could pass on their extra costs by increasing the price of fish.

This will have a knock-on effect for fish and chip shop customers in Suffolk and Essex.

Peter Cooney, who runs the Aldeburgh Fish and Chip shop, said yesterdayhe was trying to absorb extra costs for as long as possible because customers were already struggling with other increased prices.

Mr Cooney said: “I am trying to hold back because many of my customers travel by car and they are feeling the extra fuel costs already.”

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He described the Bank Holiday weather in Aldeburgh as “awful” but that did not stop customers forming a queue outside the family-run business at lunchtime.

A spokesman for Yate's Fish and Chips in Walton on the Naze said: “To be honest it is not really affecting people yet but it will do two to six months down the line.

“It will have an affect very, very soon and a lot (of fish and chip shops) will go out of business.

“It won't trouble us as we are too good and have people come here from all over the country but in general it will get worse.”

The Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) says the higher diesel prices will hit trawlermen hard and could increase prices from 7% to 50%.

The cost of fuel for trawlers has doubled from 31p to 60p per litre in the last year and Philip MacMullen, head of environment at Seafish, said: “We are now seeing a complete change in the cost of bringing the catch to market.

“There's a lot we can do to try to mitigate cost increases, including looking at different fishing methods and improvements to gear technology. Nonetheless, consumers must be prepared for significant increases in the cost of seafood.”

David Audley, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, said: “The price of all food is going up for various reasons. However, fish and chips have always remained competitive and I trust it will stay that way.”

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