NORTH East fish and chip shops have spoken out about the cost of ingredients skyrocketing in what one fish shop owner said was “the biggest crisis that we’ve ever experienced” and could lead to fish and chips costing as much as “a fillet of steak.”

The National Federation of Fish Friers has warned that four key ingredients that make up a traditional fish and chip meal are being affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

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Ukraine provides 50 percent of oil used by British fish and chip shops across the country and 40 percent of white fish such as cod and haddock is provided by Russia, which the UK has sanctioned.

Bishop Auckland fish and chip shop owner James Beedle’s said it was “the biggest crisis” that the Fish and Chip industry has faced.

The Northern Echo: Beedle's Chippy in Bishop Auckland Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEWBeedle's Chippy in Bishop Auckland Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW

Mr Beedle, who owns Beedle’s Chippy in the town, admitted that it was “a very difficult situation.”

He told The Northern Echo: “It’s getting to the point where you’ll be looking at the price of a fillet steak for fish and chips if it keeps going the way it’s going.

“It’s just going to have another knock-on effect where fish and chip shops are going to have to put their prices up again and it’s getting to the point where are our customers going to be able to pay that price.

“We’ve already raised our prices a couple of months ago, and if the prices keep going the way they’re going, we’re going to have to do another price increase as well.”

When asked if he felt the Government could be doing more to help local fish and chip shops, Mr Beedle said: “Yeah definitely, I believe that the government should be helping the fish and chip industry.

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“Obviously the amount of people it employs as well, if you think of the knock effect of the supply chain, not just for the fisheries themselves but the takeaways as well.”

Mr Beedle added that the industry was also struggling due to the Cost of Living Crisis which has meant gas prices have increased as well as prices for local produce.

He said: “It’s not just on fish as well, the living crisis has had a knock-on effect of everyday items from bread buns to sausages to everything.

When asked if he would be seriously struggling if prices continue to go up, Mr Beedle added: “It depends how long the crisis goes on for, I hope it doesn’t carry on, I hope it does level out and there is some government help that comes from somewhere to try  and reduce it but I honestly don’t know.

“My business is a family-run business, and we’ve been in the business for 30 years and we’ll do everything we can to keep going.

“So no matter what we’ll be fighting to the last breath.”

Mr Beedle concluded: “It’s the nation's favourite and it will be difficult to see a lot of fish and chip shops having to close.”

Julie Kilding, owner of Mike’s Fish Bar in Newton Aycliffe said she had also been forced to put her prices up due to the ongoing crisis.

The Northern Echo: Julie Kilding, owner of Mike's Fish Bar in Newton AycliffeJulie Kilding, owner of Mike's Fish Bar in Newton Aycliffe

She added that she was “absorbing more of the cost, instead of passing it on to the customer.”

Ms Kilding added: “Fish prices are gradually increasing week on week really so we try to source different fish as much as we can because we know how difficult it is for people, so yeah it is difficult.

When asked if the Government could be doing more to help she said: “I think that the VAT could definitely be decreased, it went up by 5 percent then 12 percent now we’re back up to the 20 percent VAT.

The Northern Echo: Mike's Fish Bar in Newton Aycliffe Picture: CONNOR LARMANMike's Fish Bar in Newton Aycliffe Picture: CONNOR LARMAN

“So if they had kept it at a lower rate that would definitely have helped us out.”

Ms Kilding added that the Government had a “job to do” so understood that it was a “balancing act.”

She added: “Of course, we would like some support, but so would everyone else so its about getting that balance right.”

Tandeep Randhawa, owner of Park Lane Fish and Chips in Darlington, said she had “definitely” been seeing prices rise.

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She added that prices had “definitely gone up for both fish and oil” and that if prices continued to rise her business “would be struggling.”

She added: “We haven’t put our prices up yet but we are looking at do it as are a lot of fish and chip shops around us.

“Basically at the moment we’re just giving away profit so we are looking to price increase.”

Dilawar Singh, owner of North Road Fish and Chips confirmed that prices were rising.

The Northern Echo: North Road Fish Bar in Darlington Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEWNorth Road Fish Bar in Darlington Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW

He said: "yeah, yeah prices are just going higher and higher, everything has doubled

“Yeah I agree that the government should be doing more to help, definitely.

“I have had to put the prices up, compared to the last year, I used to sell large fish and chips for £7 and now it’s £7.90.

“If prices continue to rise I do think it will be a struggle yeah."

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A spokesperson for the Government told Sky News on the crisis that it will "continue to speak with the industry body, the National Federation of Fish Friers, and other sector representatives about current pressures they face."


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