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Fish and chips now 'more expensive than a fillet steak' as price triples to £24

Chronicle Live logo Chronicle Live 16/06/2022 Mike Kelly

Since the start of the year the cost of fish and chips has tripled and is now more expensive than fillet steak. Landlord Alex Cook said the cost of the dish had been hit by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and fears pubs will no longer be able to afford to sell it.

Alex, 40, now charges around £24 for the meal after the price of cod rose from £9 to £29 per kilo since the turn of the year. He has even encouraged customers who want fish and chips to go to their local chippy, reports WalesOnline.

He said rising wholesale costs meant the traditional cod meal was now 'unsustainable' for most British pubs and he believes it could soon drop off menus altogether, claiming that even exclusive fillet steaks are now cheaper to list for many bar and restaurant owners.

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Alex, who owns three pubs in North Yorkshire, said: “I do think at this cost to us, cod and chips is no longer a humble dish. It’s a real, real treat and perhaps it hasn’t got a place on a pub menu. We certainly won’t be able to serve cod all the time. We just can’t do it.

“We’d have to price it about £24, and that just doesn’t offer any value for money for any customers. There’s no sign of this slowing down. This problem is just getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

“Something got to give or the whole industry will implode on itself. Cod is currently more than fillet steak."

Fish and chips more expensive than a fillet of steak says landlord © Reach plc Fish and chips more expensive than a fillet of steak says landlord

Alex said at the start of the year he purchased cod at a manageable £9 per kilo, but since the start of the year, this figure had increased three-fold.

The UK imports 30 per cent of its whitefish from Russia, which controls 45 per cent of the global market, and it is facing shortages of Ukrainian sunflower oil.

He added: “Cod had gone from £9 per kilo at the turn of the year. It’s probably now about £29 per kilo. That is almost unsustainable.

“A lot of our cod comes from Russia, and there always has been a shortage of cod in British waters, hence why we’ve been trying to protect it for so long.”

Alex let pub-goers know that he wasn’t going to serve cod and chips anymore by placing a note at his menu, which directed them to visit their local chippy instead.

He said: “I put a little note saying please go to the fish and chip shop three miles down the road from where we’re based instead.

“One of my best friends who has got chip shops who is feeling the pinch a little bit more than me, because I can obviously offer alternatives.

“We’ll make use of our specials board. But in terms of a battered fish product – we’ll keep scampi on the menu – but we won’t be able to serve cod all the time.”

Alex said the rising fish cost is just one of several price hikes that were affecting his pubs' profits after a difficult few years for many in the industry.

He said: “The oil that we cook the fish in has also doubled in price, so it was £20, it’s now £42.

“Then you’ve got the fuel that you use to cook with - it’s gone from £900 per month to £4,000 per month.

“You’ve got to remember the last two years is horrendous because of the pandemic. So the reserves that were once in the bank for businesses no longer exist.

“Gone are the days where you can have two or three bad months and it’s absorbed by the business.

“Smaller pubs than myself will just crumble within months. Somebody needs to stand up and say something. It’s never been as bad.”

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