Kent transport

Kent fish and chip prices rise as cost of cod and oil rises

Kent Chippies say they fear for their future as the price of fish continues to rise.

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

The 160-year-old industry faces tough times as prices continue to soar

Al’s Chippy, which drove around Sittingbourne, went out of business last month after owner Alex Moore struggled to turn a profit.

He had to raise the price of a meal of fish and chips from £5.80 to £9.70 in the nine months since starting the business, and to keep going he would have had to raise another five .

He fears this could mean the end of the cheap and cheerful Friday night favourite.

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

“Before a can of fish was £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 in the last two months.

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 a crate of fish, which is almost £200 now.

“Three months ago vegetable oil was £27, now it’s £45.”

The Black Pearl fish and chips shop based in Sittingbourne, they have had to raise their prices to match production costs (57447359)
The Black Pearl fish and chips 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 have led to higher fish import prices.

This comes on top of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which has seen the UK impose import tariffs and bans on more than £1billion worth of Russian goods.

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

Ahmed Ali, 36, who runs the Island Fish Bar in Sheerness High Street, said: “We have fewer customers, business isn’t as busy as it used to be, we don’t know what’s going to happen but we hope that everything will be fine.”

Their price for a regular cod and chips has risen from £6.40 to £7.90 over the past few months, an increase of 23%.

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

Jason Cooper of Coopers of Kent Seafood, a seafood market in Sevenoaks, has reduced sales to fish bars.

He says that importing the amount they need is so expensive that it is increasingly difficult for him to make a profit.

He added: “The cost of transport, demand for fishing, import costs and panic buying are too high.

“Everyone suffers from customs fees and fuel costs.”

He added: “The price of cod is a disgrace, it just goes up daily and weekly.”

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

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

He fears that a third of the 10,500 fries across the country will go bankrupt due to the crisis hitting the industry.

It means the industry, on which Britons spend £1.2billion a year, could see businesses go bankrupt if people choose to walk away.

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

The store partner said he was trying to keep his regular meal of cod and chips at £7.50, adding: “We are trying to keep 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 ripple effect across all industries, but I don’t think it’s all catastrophic.

“It’s difficult.

“At the moment there are businesses that can’t sustain it, but that’s okay, it’s the oldest takeaway fast food tradition in Britain, it needs positivity.

“It’s a good meal.”