‘Terrifying situation’ UK’s fish and chip shops in supply crisis amid Russian’s invasion

The history of fish and chips explained

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Energy bills are already soaring, and petrol prices have spiked this week too. Now Britain’s already-struggling fish and chip shops have been given a bleak future as the latest round of global unrest is disrupting the supply of fish and other ingredients needed to make one of the UK’s favourite takeaways. As a result, prices could increase and it will be customers who will be forced to pay.

UK consumer price inflation hit an annual rate of 5.5 percent in January. 

Food prices rose by 2.7 percent, but the price of some staple products such as bread, eggs and peas rose by more than 10 percent, exacerbating a cost of living crisis.

Now, one of Britain’s most loved takeaways is being threatened with price increases and supply issues. 

Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, had estimated before the Ukraine crisis that more than a third of Britain’s fish and chip shops could go out of business over the next 12 months.

With ongoing hostility from Russia towards Ukraine, he has said the situation has worsened: “We’re probably looking higher now.” 

Russia’s invaision of Ukraine affected the supply of white fish – cod and haddock in particular which are staples for a chip shop. 

It comes as roughly 30 percent of the UK’s white fish originates from Russia and they control nearly 45 percent of the global supply. 

To add to this, disruption to the flow of Ukrainian and Russian wheat could also impact the batter and breadcrumbs. 

These are ingredients that are used not only in chip shops, but also in frozen fish products sold in supermarkets, such as fish fingers. 

On top of this, Ukraine is the largest global producer of sunflower oil. 

And experts have warned there could be severe disruption to market supply, as well as price increases and challenges for businesses as they seek vegetable oil alternatives.

As a result, this will impact everything from fish and chips from your local chippie, to fish fingers and tinned mackerel and tuna on supermarket shelves. 

The seafood industry believes supply prices could rise by 20-30 percent, with costs likely to be passed onto consumers, according to politico.eu. 

After a difficult couple of years for chippies, they are set to face a 7.5 percent rise in value-added tax from April, “which will put a lot of businesses under,” Andrew said. 

Andof sanctions are placed on Russian fish by London or Moscow, the expert predicts even more shops will close down. 

“If things go worst-case scenario, it’s a terrifying situation,” he added. 

But, untangling the industry’s dependency on Russia can’t be done overnight, as much of the white fish that is due to arrive in the UK this year has already been ordered and paid for. 

To add to this, the UK also imports Russian chemicals for fertilisers “which could hit UK harvest”. 

“And the rising cost of energy is going to make every step in the food processing and transportation more expensive,” Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at platform Hargreaves Lansdown, told moneyweek.com. 

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