F sh frying Fast Food Show & Sunday 12th June 2022 F sh frying Fast Food Show & Sunday 12th June 2022

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The Class of ’88

By the late 1980’s the British public’s food tastes had become cosmopolitan with considerable growth in Indian and Chinese takeaway’s and gourmet food ranges in supermarkets. Nevertheless Fish and Chips still remained the Nation’s favourite takeaway with the Class of ‘88 numbering around 15,000 shops. They were attracting a more diverse range of customers who were paying around £1.60 - £2.00 for medium cod and chips. Greaseproof paper was introduced and newspaper for wrapping phased out on hygiene grounds. A BSE outbreak also resulted in many shops switching from animal fats to vegetable oils for frying.

By 1988, Frymax was still the number one brand. It was exactly the same product as on launch with no additions or modifications and remained pure white palm which is additive free, contains no hydrogenated oil and less than 1% trans fats. Frymax guaranteed consistently good results and long lasting performance without deterioration in quality and had become firmly established as the Fryers Favourite.


For information, advice, or customer support material please contact ADM Trading (UK) Limited. e-mail: Frymax – In a Class of its Own


MAY 2022

A positive month This month the industry has benefited from some fantastic PR opportunities, which have helped shine a positive light in what continues to be a challenging time. It was great to see five shops have a prime time TV slot as they battled it out in BBC2’s Britain’s Top Takeaways earlier this month. Despite being competitors for the programme, it was clear that they all had a real appreciation for each other, their food and their style. Back for its seventh year is National Fish & Chip Day. Being marked by takeaways and restaurants across the UK, shops will turn red, white and blue for the occasion. And there’s still much to look foward to, not least The T.Quality Fish Frying & Fast Food Show on 12th June at Warwickshire Event Centre, where visitors can win a pallet of Frypure Plus 20 palm oil worth £1,000 and a full Epos system courtesy of PanaEpos. Read our Show Preview starting on p11 to find out more!




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Spending on takeaways and nights out fell in April compared to March as rising prices being to lead to changes in consumer behaviour. According to new figures by Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, spending on fast food and takeaways fell from 79.6% to 77.9%. Spend in bars, pubs, and clubs was also down from 41.7% to 39.2%. The proportion of Brits feeling concerned about the impact of higher household bills on their finances remained high at 90%. However, despite this backdrop of increasing prices, shoppers’ confidence in their ability to spend on non-essential items currently remains steady at 52%. Consumer card spending grew 18.1% in April compared to the same period in 2019 – the highest uplift since October 2021 – with the travel sector seeing its best month since before the pandemic.


Two fish and chip shops shared the title of Britain’s Top Takeaway in the new BBC Two TV show which aired earlier this month. Simpsons in Cheltenham and Hird’s Family Fisheries in Huddersfield were crowned joint winners during the hour-long programme presented by Sarah Cox and comedian Darren Harriot. The episode, the first of an eight-part series, also featured Tony’s Chippy in Glasgow, Chris’s Fish and Chips in Leicestershire, and Posh Fish and Chips in Cardiff. All five chippies were tasked with cooking a range of fish and chip shop staples which were then delivered to local families to eat, rate and score from the comfort of their dining table or sofa. Simpsons and Hird’s Family Fisheries scored the highest, tying on 23 points. Bonny Ritchie, who worked alongside senior manager Vic Pockett, created a menu of traditional fish and chips, tofish and chips, frickles and halloumi. She comments: ”I’m over the moon at the result because we were up against some great fish and chip shops, some of them we had heard of and some of them we hadn’t. We went into it as the only Fish & Chip Shop of the Year winners so it felt like there was a lot of pressure on us to perform.” With no rumblers to peel potatoes, only tabletop fryers and no hot holding, the contestants were put through their paces, with Bonny adding: “We had a great time filming it, but my it was hard! Watching me and Vic hand peel potatoes with nothing but a bucket and a funnel was utterly hilarious! “We had an order for a boxing club of about 10 portions, which obviously when you’re at a chip shop is nothing. But when you have tiny little fryers and no hot holding, it was tough!” Having the opportunity to highlight fish and chips through the BBC was rewarding said Bonny, adding: “Hopefully it highlights that fish and chips is a great industry to be in and that we are not all against each other. We all got on so well and got to try each other’s food at the end, which was really nice because fish and chips is so variable. Tony’s in Scotland did breadcrumbed fish, and the guys from Posh Fish & Chips did lobster. It was so different to what we would normally do so it was nice for us to see that. “I hope the show has a really positive impact.” Adam Hird, owner of Hird’s Family Fisheries, worked with daughter Amber to cook up a menu that included a haddock goujon butty, halloumi fries, dirty chips and a vegan pie. Equally pleased with the result, he said: “To be joint winners is outstanding, I couldn’t be happier because we’ve always done things slightly differently to your regular fish and chip shop so to be recognised for that is an amazing feeling. It was even better doing the show with my daughter, it’s a lifetime memory. She is just a star, she’s such a lovely girl and she works so hard. “It was great meeting everyone else too, Strad and Gina from Chris’s, and we made really good friends with Hugh and William from Scotland, they were absolute stars. I think we’re all winners to be able to work in that environment.” During the 13 hours of filming, Adam and Amber could be seen making a pie from scratch in 30 minutes, mixing up their secret recipe batter and hand peeling potatoes. Adam adds: “It’s still a bit surreal because we filmed it in July last year so it’s been a long wait for it to be shown. I’m looking forward to seeing what impact it will have on trade. It’s difficult times for the industry at the moment, it’s certainly something I’ve never experienced in the ten years I’ve owned the shop. I think this will be really good for the industry and, hopefully, we’ll have a few busy weeks.”

KFE NAMED FINALIST IN FOOTPRINT AWARDS 2022 Range supplier KFE has made the shortlist for the Sustainable Catering Equipment Manufacturer category at the Footprint Awards 2022. The award recognises companies demonstrating innovation in the design and development of more sustainable, energy efficient, catering equipment. Kiremko frying ranges are said to be the most energy efficient on the market at 94%, resulting in savings of up to 50% compared to traditional frying ranges. KFE will be joined at the awards by Deep Blue Restaurants, a finalist in the Waste Prevention & Waste Management Award, and Synergy Grill Technology, which made the shortlist for the Energy Efficiency Award. The awards take place on Thursday 9th June. F sh frying Fast Food Show & Sunday 12th June 2022





A London-based company is advertising for a team of takeaway testers on a month-long contract with a salary of £1,000. The vacancy, being offered by online building supplier Materials Market, hopes to discover what the best fast food options are for tradespeople on the go. There are six positions available and the role will require candidates to test 20 of the UK’s favourite fast food meals for either breakfast or lunch, including Greggs sausage roll and omelette egg breakfast baguette, McDonald’s large Big Mac meal and a footlong Subway Meatball. After each meal the taste testers will be required to log how they feel, monitoring levels of fullness, energy, productivity, sluggishness and overall satisfaction. This will be repeated again two and four hours after eating. The advert reads: “In trade jobs you’re physically put to work and as a result, burn lots of calories, so a substantial meal is a necessity to keep you full, satisfied and energised throughout the working day. Therefore we’re really excited to launch this experiment, working with our team of testers, along with a nutritionist, to discover what the best fast food options out there are.”

**SHOP FOR SALE** RIDGEWAY FISH BAR, ST ALBANS, HERTFORDSHIRE - LEASEHOLD - Newly refurbed shop to a very high standard, all equipment brand new including a new high efficiency 4 pan frying range. - Fantastic location, car parking for 120 plus cars. Three double bedroom accommodation included (separate entrance). - Turnover £9,000 per week (mainly staff run). Very short opening hours Wednesday to Saturday 12-2pm and 4-9pm. - In house deliveries Fridays only. Very small amount of business on Just Eat and Uber (their drivers). Please contact 07590 120233 to discuss further.

EMPLOYEES WORKING LONGER TO KEEP HOSPITALITY DOORS OPEN Hospitality employees are working around six hours a week longer than before the pandemic as the sector works to tackle the recruitment crisis, new figures show. Analysis of real-time data from workforce management specialist Bizimply’s customers shows that taking March 2020 as the baseline: • Employees are now working an average of around 25 hours a week, compared to a pre-pandemic average of 19 hours a week; • In food-led businesses, employees are working an average 28 hour week, compared to around 23 hours in wet-led businesses; • Fine dining restaurants, which are among the worst affected by recruitment issues, are typically asking their staff to work 40-plus hours a week. Cafés and hotels are also seeing staff notch up longer than average weekly hours at work. Bizimply CEO Conor Shaw comments: “Most operators have significant numbers of part-time employees, such as students or those juggling work with childcare commitments, so we expect to see the average hours worked to be below the typical full-time tally of around 35 hours. “However, it’s clear that in food-led sectors, particularly more premium venues such as fine dining and hotels, the recruitment challenge is particularly acute. With experienced chefs and front-of-house staff in very short supply, operators are asking staff to put in longer shifts than ever.”


Year-on-year inflation in the foodservice sector hit 13.6% in March 2022, the latest CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index shows. The figure is the highest in the history of the Index and continues a surge in prices since the start of the year. It is 3.4 percentage points higher than in February, when year-on-year inflation reached double digits for the first time. Seven of the ten categories measured were in double-digit inflation in March 2022 - and five recorded increases of more than 20%. Prices in the oils and fats category are now over 50% higher than just one year ago, while the breads and cereals segment has increased dramatically too. These and other categories including fish have been heavily impacted by the war in Ukraine, a major supplier of commodities including oils and grains. With shortages likely to continue for some time, further volatility in prices can be expected. High levels of inflation are also being seen in fruit, dairy and soft drinks, while chicken prices are rising sharply too.



BLEND 30 Batter Mix

To celebrate 30 years of trading we have produced this special batter mix Blend 30. We have been passionate about making batter mix for over 50 years and in this Blend 30 we have used all of our expertise and skill to produce a product that is the best of the best. This celebration blend is the ultimate product for crispness, increased holding time and quality.

We hope you love it as much as we do. Leonard & Sylvia Middleton

• A unique blend of flours • Fries extra crispy with a light golden colour • Designed to sit longer in the holding cabinet • Ideal for take-away, restaurant and delivery

For a FREE sample please call 01902 608122 or visit





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Mitchell Potatoes has invested in 11 new trucks which it anticipates will each clock up to 50,000km a year delivering chipped potatoes to fish and chip shops across England and Wales. The potato merchant, which has depots in Rugby, Bristol and Taunton, has taken delivery of 10 18-tonne DAF LF rigids and a 26-tonne DAF. Also new is a 44-tonne Renault tractor unit expected to cover 75,000-80,000km a year, primarily transporting potatoes from farms nationwide to the company’s depots in Ilminster and Rugby. Supplied and maintained by commercial vehicle fleet services company Fraikin, the trucks benefit from dedicated telematics equipment. This provides data on fleet movements and driver behaviour to help improve fleet efficiency and ensure potatoes get to where they are needed when they are needed. David Mitchell, company director at Mitchell Potatoes, says: Our expertise lies in potatoes, so we’re happy to call on Fraikin’s knowledge and experience to look after our vehicles – it lets us focus on what we do best.” Mitchell Potatoes distributes more than 1,000 pallets of potatoes a week in the Midlands, South Wales, London and the south coast of England.

LUNCH “HOUR” SHRINKS TO LESS THAN 30 MINUTES, STUDY REVEALS The average time taken to eat lunch during a working day is just 29 minutes, with seven in ten modern workers not dreaming of being away from their messages and e-mails for a full hour. That’s the findings on a new study conducted by Branston Pickle, which also reveals that even despite the rise in home working, more than a quarter (26%) say they never down tools or ignore their emails, even while eating lunch. More than a third (36%) check work messages and take calls during lunch breaks, while 38% of workers are constantly interrupted by work calls and messages while eating. 35% say they don’t have enough time to take a full hour, 25% worry about missing important emails and 21% are scared their boss will think they’re slacking.




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F sh frying Fast Food Show & Sunday 12th June 2022

It’s just a few weeks until the T.Quality Fish Frying & Fast Food Show opens its doors and we’re giving you a taste of what to expect

Southern Fried breading and Chicken Prep Dip to give a crispier finish, as well as its Peri-Peri Lemon & Herb, Prego & Mango & Lime basting sauces. FREE PARKING FREE ADMISSION Special Offers & Discounts Frying Ranges & Equipment Shop 6. Middleton Food Products will be parking up a mobile unit where the team will be frying up fish and chips

We are delighted to be weeks away from opening the doors to the T.Quality Fish Frying & Fast Food Show at the Warwickshire Event Centre in Leamington Spa on Sunday 12th June. We’ve got over 60 different product and equipment stands for you to stroll around, some who are exhibiting for the first time and some you’ll recognise from shows gone by. Either way, they will all be showcasing something new or exciting that will help take your business to the next level. Here’s a glimpse of what to expect on the day: 1. Kirwin Brothers will not only be showcasing its IQF skin on haddocks but frying some up to sample too. 2. Pukka Pies is running a case discount

across a number of its SKU’s including Vegan, Chicken Balti and All Steak as well as sampling its full range. 3. Say goodbye to opening tins or rinsing marrowfat peas with Sam’s Natural Kitchen and its pouches of Natural Mushy Peas. Take advantage of a buy one get one free deal (up to a maximum of 10 boxes). 4. The new Pacific Greens vegan brand will take centre stage for Pacific West as it samples its Fishless Fingers and Enoki Mushrooms. There will also be discounts and POS available for these as well as its popular Salt and Pepper Squid, Seafood Basket and Scampi. 5. To perfect your fried chicken, head to

When: Sunday 12th June 2022 Where: Warwickshire Event Centre, The Fosse, Fosse Way, Leamington Spa, CV31 1XN Opens: 10am - 4.30pm Register for FREE tickets at: T.QUALITY FISH FRYING & FAST FOOD SHOW

Rupert’s Ingredients where it will be showcasing its two-step process using REGISTER NOW FOR FREE

King Asia Foods | Sam’s Natural Kitchen | Middleton Foods | PanaEpos | Sweetheat Technology | Kerry Foods | BD Signs | Whitby Seafoods | Allied Drinks | Kismet Kebabs | Golden Delight Food | CR Signs | Hopkins | Britvic Soft Drinks | Young’s Seafood | Klöckner Pentaplast | James T Blakeman | Nortech | AAK Exhibitors to date:





All visitors that check in to the T.Quality Fish Frying & Fast Food Show on the day will go into a prize drawer to win a pallet of Frypure Plus 20 palm oil. A unique blend of top quality oils

that lasts over 20% longer than normal palm, it’s a prize worth £1,000 and it could be yours just for turning up!

10. Kismet Kebabs will be giving out samples of its new plant- based lines that include vegan alternatives to burgers, kebabs, hot dogs and nuggets. For traditionalists, it will also be serving up its chicken kebabs and pre-cooked and sliced kebabs. 11. Presenting 10, yes 10, fully cooked chicken breast products under the Diggers brand is Pan Euro Foods . Together with two Seafeast Fish coated fish products, friers have a range of versatile menu options that can be fried or oven cooked.

and promoting its Blend 30 batter mix, a high quality batter that promises crispness and increased holding time, making it ideal for deliveries and click and collect. 7. With food delivery still big business, Sweetheat will be bringing its new large heated bags which offer more capacity for bigger orders. 8. Florigo will be bringing along its little sister, Edge, with a 3 pan counter range on the stand. Described as a Dutch range at British prices, come and check it out and get a quote. 9. Peruse the walk through Drywite shop and stock up on essentials from chip baskets and fish lifters to non-brewed condiment and starch testing strips. Take a look at the new aluminium burger press, great for launching a signature burger menu. .

12. King Frost/Young’s will be

sampling Young’s Scampi, King Frost Cheese and Onion Fry It’s and King Frost Fish Cakes. Grab some great discounts as well as something to eat!

13. Check out the new Dinaclass

Chinese Sauce from Kerry Foods , which delivers the authentic Chinese flavour customers love, and also the new 10kg pack size

International | McWhinney’s Sausages | Pukka Pies | Coveris Flexibles | Blenders | Sarson’s | ASK Packaging | Meadow Vale Foods | Tyson Food Product Solutions | Rupert’s Ingredients | Pan Euro Foods | Amipak | Qikserve | KTC Edibles | Lewis Fish & Grill | Kirwin Bros | Theo’s Food | Exhibitors to date:




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Fully certified high eciency burner system. Improved recovery, less gas usage and reduce oil consumption.

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2 service centres based in Sheeld and Bristol, with further sub contract engineers to provide nationwide back up service and maintenance.

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for Dinaclass Irish. You can also find out about Goldensheaf Smart Batter, which absorbs 10% less oil, plus its gluten free batter and curry sauces. 14. If technology is your thing, BD Signs & Digital will be showcasing its self service kiosk, online ordering app and digital menu screens. 15. Discover how CC Dynamic’s £XCHEKKA cash handling machine avoids the need for staff to handle coins and notes, eliminates theft and saves time counting cash. It will also be debuting MyCheckr, an age verification device to help eliminate the underage purchase of alcohol. 16. Meadow Vale Foods will be helping ease the pressure of price rises facing the trade by showcasing its versatile, range of chicken products that includes battered fillets, strips and bites, as well as its new Original Vegan Strips. 17. If you’re thinking of making the switch from beef dripping to vegetable oil or want to introduce a pan suitable for vegetarians, come and find out about


T. Quality with have offers on products from the following major companies, plus

many more: Middletons Kerry Foodservice Pukka Diggers

Coca-Cola Blakemans Meadow Vale

the new vegetable oil from Nortech Foods . 18. Sample the latest biodegradable food packaging from ASK Packaging made from 100% natural sugarcane bagasse grown on the company’s very own farms in India. 19. Klöckner Pentaplast will be showcasing its Infinity Expanded PolyPropylene (EPP) packaging range which is 100% recyclable, is resistent to water and hot oil, and remains cool to touch on the outside even though food is kept hot inside. 20. From plain chicken to marinated to vegan, Theo’s has all the bases covered as well as a strong brand imagery to provide visitors with the perfect chicken-based food solution for their business. 21. Stop for a refresh at the Allied Drinks stand and try its new bubblegum flavour Shmoo thick shake while learning about the high profit margins it can bring.


Come and try your hand at winning a complete Epos system with programming, installation and support for a full year courtesy of PanaEpos . Simply try out its online ordering app and you’ll be entered into the drawer. You can also check out its self serve kiosks, menu boards and Epos systems.

Fast Food Systems | Fryersmate | Frymax | Spot on Supplies | Florigo | CC Dynamic | Drywite | Pacific West | Approved Finance | Coca Cola | Wrights Pies | Central Foods | JFK | ML Meats | Penny Lane | NFFF | Kiril - Mischeff Exhibitors to date:



WHAT’S NEW Paramount whitebait gains MSC certification

Country Choice adds curry and chilli Potato Dogs Turning up the heat in the hand-held snacking sector are two new Potato Dogs from Country Choice - curry and chilli. The Curry Potato Dog is a frankfurter-style curry sausage wrapped in a potato rösti outer, while the Chilli version features a chilli-flavoured sausage. The 140g Potato Dogs are packed in cases of 20, with an RRP of £2.05 per snack. Baked from frozen in 20-25 minutes, they have a four-hour shelf life in the hot cabinet once cooked, and are easily identifiable by their colour-coded cardboard holders. Country Choice 0344 892 0399

All three of Paramount 21’s whitebait products have achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. This means operators can be sure the fish they serve have come from fisheries that have been independently certified as well managed and sustainable. Whitebait is becoming a firm favourite with consumers while for operators it is quick- to-serve, cooking in just two to three minutes, and offers

great margins with three to five starter portions per bag. The range includes MSC Blanchbait, Gluten-Free MSC Coated Whitebait, and Uncoated MSC Whitebait. Paramount 21 01626 837650

Adande launches ‘B’ energy class rating grab-and-go open-display cabinet

It’s all about the Basa

Young’s Foodservice has launched Crispy Battered 100% Fish Fillet Goujons. Made using sustainable Basa fillets, the goujons come frozen in 4 x 1kg bags. They are easy to cook and can served in a multitude of ways, for example on their own with a dip, added to a sandwich or as part of a sharing platter. Young’s Foodservice

Adande has launched a new energy efficient BORA open-display refrigerated cabinet that helps operators sell their chilled drinks while reducing their carbon footprint. With a B energy class rating, a rating only seen until now on refrigeration complete with glass doors, Adande believes the unit can save operators up to £1,000 per year in electricity per cabinet, compared to other existing open-display units. Powered by Adande’s Aircell patented air management technology, the cabinet consistently holds the cold air in place, barring it from falling out. This delivers both a stable temperature and precisely controlled humidity, which keeps food fresher for longer, reducing food waste. The cabinet comes in a black, stainless-steel and white finish and uses the natural refrigerant R290. Adande 01502 537135



Sustainability Matters Business Matters Origin Matters

Almost 9 in 10 UK diners understand the importance of sustainable seafood …

… but only a quarter know what to look for in a fish and chip shop

Learn the rest from the best

Discover the ‘Fish & Tips’ video series made with friers, for friers

Communicate your sustainability credentials to show the value in every portion

Access free sustainability resources on the Seafood From Norway website

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With so many pressures on fish, from supply to prices, we talk to Andy Hunter, sales director at frozen at sea fillets importer Polarfrost, a subsidiary of Young’s Seafood, to find out how operators can best ride out the storm

What are you seeing in terms of prices? Price is the most talked about thing at the moment. We’ve seen prices increase on cod and haddock probably 40% in 12 months so it’s a huge problem for fish and chip shops, and they are starting to question how they can continue to run their businesses. I heard a comment that potentially a third of fish and chip shops could close down and, while I don’t think that will happen, a huge number will be in trouble. We are hearing a lot of misinformation about the rising prices of fish at the moment, it’s been blamed on the war in Ukraine, and it’s been blamed on tariffs, both of which are incorrect. It’s fundamentally down to the lack of supply that started last summer and resulted from poor fishing and a reduction in quotas. But these prices are here to stay, we’re not going to see a sudden drop and everything will be 30%

cheaper, fish is a worldwide commodity product and there’s a greater global demand than ever before. Sometimes there’s simply less available, more demand and so the price goes up. When can you see prices stabilising? There’s a little bit more fish being landed now, but I don’t see prices coming down in a significant way this year. The next time that they will possibly come down will be in 2023, but that will depend on quotas being increased and fishing capability; sometimes the quota is there but the boats don’t catch the fish. It is very difficult to know what will happen in each 12-month period. What can operators do to best address the situation? The majority of shops, if they want to continue to serve cod and haddock, (which I can’t see changing), have to

look at being a little bit more flexible with what they’re buying. Generally, shops buy a fish size that is between 8-16 ounces and 16-32 ounces but if they were to buy smaller fillets, they’d save money. Smaller portion sizes are happening across all industries, from a diet/calories point of view and also due to costs. I understand that operators might not want to do this because they’re concerned it will reduce business, but it comes back to the same thing, people have to start looking more carefully at what’s available. A smaller, say 3-5 ounce piece of fish, which is a perfectly good meal size, is probably 40- 50% cheaper and would bring costs right back down to what they were a year ago. Do you advocate shops putting their prices up? Yes, I would say don’t be afraid to put prices up. There’s quite a long-standing




are receiving more food than they can eat. If you think that you could reduce the size of a piece of fish by 20 or 30%, easily that’s huge mitigation against the price, and that applies to chips as well. You touched on sustainability, is that still as important when weighing up price and availability? It’s an interesting subject because everything that we sell is MSC certified, which I guess is the gold standard. But even if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t make a huge amount of difference to us - and that’s nothing against MSC - but it’s just so important to the frozen at sea cod and haddock industry to operate sustainably that we don’t need to be told to do it, we do it anyway. And as a company, we absolutely cannot get involved in any venture that is not sustainable. Unfortunately, for shops to advertise that they sell MSC they would need to become registered and that can be quite difficult and costly. I think that they can do it another way and that’s by getting that information from their supplier. A shop could put on their menus “supplied by Young’s Seafood” and reference our record of sustainability and principles. Often shops are worried that they have got to pay some kind of a levy to be able to say that something is sustainable, but actually, they don’t, we can give them all the information they need. Do you think the fish and chip industry can survive the pressures it is facing? I think they absolutely can. There’s no doubt that a percentage of shops will fail but the ones who have a passion for it, who live and breathe it, will succeed. They are going to have to start fighting a little bit for some of that business out there though, especially when people have got less money, which they’re going to have over the next year or two. Shops will have to make sure that they do everything they can to make themselves stand out in a difficult marketplace.

Do you think with price being an issue shops may have more success pushing other species of fish now rather than when it was purely about sustainability? Money talks at the end of the day, and if shops start to notice that they’re having to put their prices up to a level where they are worried about fewer people coming through the door, then, yes, I think they will start to look a bit more seriously at what their options are. The other very important thing is to look at is portion size. Historically, it’s been fairly easy to give a very generous portion away and still run a good business. That is now very difficult. Plus, a comment I hear a lot from customers is that they

view in the UK that fish and chips is a cheap meal and that’s just got to change. The fish that we sell and that most fish and chip shops use is the best fish in the world. Fish and chips is a meal that is freshly cooked to order using quality ingredients and operators shouldn’t be afraid to pass on some of the cost increases. What about trying other species? There is a limitation on what you can serve in a fish and chip shop, you can’t put salmon in batter! But I think operators need to be brave and look at other species. What shops need to do is contact their supplier and ask them what other fish is available, how they suggest it’s cooked and served, and why it’s good. Different fish have different benefits, for example, protein, omega 3, sustainability, and these are really important to customers and should be communicated to them.

“ There’s a little bit more fish being landed now, but I don’t see prices coming down in a significant way this year.”




With a background in lean management, Serj Shergill is keen to help chippies diversify and increase profitability. He’s even formed a co-operative with local shops to buy better

Serj Shergill has bought and sold numerous fish and chip shops over the last 10-15 years. His aim is to go in, increase the profits and move on to the next one. The most recent takeaway to benefit from his expertise was a derelict pub in the West Midlands that was revamped and opened four years. Two years into the project, it was struggling to achieve its full potential so Serj was brought in as a last throw of the dice to apply his business know-how. With his changes, turnover increased four-fold. The biggest impact on the business was Serj’s insistence on adding delivery via platforms such as Just Eat, enabling the shop to vastly extend its catchment area. He comments: “A lot of shopkeepers tend to concentrate on their direct catchment area, which is usually between half a mile and a mile radius. The problem here is that you are restricted because in most areas people only eat fish and chips once a week. It’s not like a convenience store where people are popping in day in, day out multiple times a

you’re not losing anything, in fact, you’re gaining customers. Who cares what Just Eat is earning because you’re still earning as well. And you have to remember that a lot of the customers it brings, you wouldn’t be getting normally.” Alternatives Serj is a huge fan of diversifying and always looks for ways his shops can appeal to more customers. Recently this has involved adding basa fillets as an alternative to cod for cash- strapped customers that still want to enjoy fish and chips. While a box of cod costs Serj around £310, a box of basa comes in at just £60. Priced on the menu around 25% less than cod, Serj is making an 80% profit on each fillet sold. Working with basa is different to cod, admits Serj. It’s nowhere near as flaky and it retains a lot more moisture, making it “quite a mushy fish” he says. To counteract this, once defrosted it’s left to dry on towels for up five hours. And as well as battered, he offers basa in a southern fried

week. You’re dismissing all those customers further out, that’s a big open market that you can capitalise on with deliveries.” Online orders quickly racked up for the takeaway and now 60% of sales are delivered and 40% over the counter. “Some people say it’s quite a poor reflection on how a business should be going,” says Serj. “But my mindset is that because future sales are all becoming digital, there will come a time where the majority of our sales will become digital.” Serj doesn’t concern himself with the costs aggregators charge and believes if more operators thought like him and priced their product correctly, it wouldn’t cause such a sticking point. “Some operators see the customer paying two to three pounds more and it hurts them to see that money go to somebody else rather than into their own till. My mindset has always been that you’re associated with a big major brand here, that’s a royalty you are going to have to pay for, nobody’s going to give it to you for free. “As long as you price your product right,




coating to help make up for any slight loss of taste. And it’s working - the shop sells around 12 slabs of basa a week. “I’m a strong believer that if you don’t offer alternatives you’re dismissing a certain percentage of the market. I know some shops will frown upon it, but it’s how you advertise your products and how you manage customers’ expectations. We tell our customers that basa is never going to be as good as cod - we always recommend customers buy cod - but if their budget doesn’t go that far and they want to eat fish and chips, one way around it is to have this. That way we’re not excluding anyone.” Another product he believes is a great seller for fish and chip shops is burgers, but not just any burgers, premium ones. “It’s something I know traditional fish and chip shops don’t like going into, but it’s where the market is heading. You only have to go online to see people are prepared to pay £10 for a burger meal.”

With Serj estimating the profit margin on one of his burger meals to be 70% or more, he says shops need to think about it from a prep point of view too. “With fish, you have to spend time cutting it, with burgers you put it on the grill and it’s done within two, three minutes and there’s very little wastage. “Yes it depends on the catchment area but we’re finding fish is very much a middle class/an older generation product, whereas the younger generation is leaning towards kebabs, burgers and other types of food.” Snobbery For Serj, diversifying is something shops have to face up to, adding: “You’ve got to take the snobbery out of fish and chips. Yes, fish is a far more premium product, I’m not disputing that, but the bottom line is we’re in business to make money and to get as much of the local market as we can. “Why would you want to dismiss certain elements of your market and not offer a product for everyone? Your overheads are there, you’ve got your customesr, you’ve got the staff. You’ve got everything there. You’re not going to enjoy the economies of scale if you don’t.” Economies of scale are something Serj knows a lot about, having set up a co- operative with several fish and chip operators around him. Whilst there were four shops in the beginning, Serj now buys for ten chippies

and he’s secured some impressive discounts from suppliers for bulk purchasing. “When I added up the turnover from the 10 shops, we were talking in the millions and I thought, hang on, if these guys are spending that much money, surely they’ve got to reap some benefits. If they were a corporate business with a turnover of £2 million, they would get a far better deal than somebody that does £5,000 a week. The other thing that surprised me was that we were pretty much all using the same suppliers but paying different prices.” While suppliers were sceptical at first and many offered a trial period, Serj is now buying fish, potatoes and kebabs all in bulk from different suppliers and saving himself and those in the co-operative up to 25% on each line. And with the 10 shops all investing in a shared walk-in freezer and storage, the delivery savings are quickly racking up too with everything dropped to one central location. “I’d love to see more shops doing this because the savings can be huge,” adds Serj: “I wasn’t being greedy. I didn’t want too much off, but there’s enough room in what I’ve negotiated for the suppliers to play with and there’s enough room for us shops to benefit from too. “I do think that’s where shops should be focusing their efforts - diversifying, increasing profitability and buying better - especially with the way prices are increasing at the moment.”




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Chicken is highly versatile, appeals to all ages and can be easily adapted to any menu - just some of the reasons why consumption continues to grow

For many years chicken has been touted as a healthy and sustainable protein, but it’s also quick and easy to cook and extremely versatile, which is why it’s loved by consumers and operators in equal measure. It also helps explain the continuing surge in chicken shops opening on UK high streets offering everything from fillets in buns, wings in buckets and goujons in wraps. Research by Datassential SNAP in 2021 found that chicken is the most popular protein, visible on 95.5% of menus and enjoyed by consumers throughout the day. Tasty chicken With the price of fish continuing to soar due to post-pandemic inflationary rises and the ongoing war in Ukraine, chicken is a relatively cost effective way for friers to diversify their menus. “The aim is not to replace the main event, but to provide a high quality alternative that will keep customers coming back to try new menu options,” says Antony Higgs, markeing manager at Meadow Vales Foods, which offers a range of products from salt & chilli shredded chicken to buttermilk fillets. Marcus Kay of Kay’s Chippy in Rawtenstall, Rossendale, has recently added chicken to the menu. Creating two chicken boxes using Meadow Vale’s Salt and Pepper Chicken, one served with

curry sauce and chips and another with a Thai sauce and rice, they are now the second biggest seller after fish and chips. “We’re getting customers coming in more times a week because we’re offering something a little bit different,” explains Marcus. “There’s only so many times a week you can eat fish and chips, pie and all the rest of it.” Utilising frozen battered or breaded products is the quickest and easiest way to offer chicken as it’s ready on hand, nothing goes to waste and easy portion control allows for better cost management, which has never been more important at a time of unprecedented inflation and risk of business closures. “The tight calibration of Meadow Vale products combined with precise number- counted bags makes sense for chippies looking to cut costs, all while maintaining a high quality menu offering,” adds Meadow Vale’s Antony. Frozen food distributor Central Foods also offers a range that has been designed with the end-user in mind, with Gordon Lauder, managing director, saying: “The Golden Valley Foods range provides poultry products which are of a consistent quality and consistent size, helping fish and chip shop operators with menu planning and profitability. Boxes are supplied in

small sizes to help free up frozen storage space and to help with cash flow.”

Coating and flavourings There is, of course, the option to prepare your own chicken, which means you can tap into a whole host of coatings and marinades that are continually being updated to reflect changing trends. Middleton Foods, for example, has recently added spicier breadings and gluten free options to its Rooster’s range in a bid to help shops increase footfall - in particular, attract the younger demographic into a business - and increase profits. Wayne Gambell, Middletons regional sales manager, says its breading can be used in a pressure fryer or open fryer but comments: “Keep it simple. Offer boneless cuts that can be

fried in your frying range. Consider investing in a pressure fryer if your demand is high and offer chicken thighs, chicken





chicken wings

breast and chicken leg options. And encourage the customer to spend more with a meal deal.” To help shops achieve the best results, Middletons offers full training as well as samples to try before committing. “Please get in touch for a call or visit,” adds Wayne. Thurnscoe-based Rupert’s Ingredients also offers a range of breadings, including a one mix product consisting of seasoning and flour that it says will appeal to the majority of taste buds, as well as a two-step product which consists of flour and seasoning mix, enabling the spice level to be adjusted to the required level. For an added kick it also offers a range of spicy marinades that can be used alongside its breading for things like hot n’ spicy wings. If you’re selling serious volumes of chicken there is equipment that will speed up the process if you’re willing to invest. For example, Fast Food Systems offers the Vizu Breading range which it says can do the entire sifting cycle in less than 15 seconds a batch as opposed to four to eight minutes. Rising costs While chicken has been relatively cheap up until now, like everything, costs are beginning to rise. The Office of National Statistics recorded a 19% increase in the price of chicken between March 2020 and March 2022, a factor attributed to the war between Russia


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From its headquarters in Aldridge, the West Midlands, Theo’s produces and distributes Grade ‘A’ marinated chicken. Its flavours range from classic tikka, piri piri and cajun to more modern chipotle, churrasco and chimichurri, enabling fish and chip shops to tailor their chicken offering to their market. In addition, it supplies chicken brochettes, koftas, burgers and posh dogs all of which are made from UK sourced chicken and available in Halal and non-Halal. Theo’s 01922 472422


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and Ukraine. The two countries produce a third of the world’s grain, which is a key component in chicken feed. So keep this in mind when working out your costings Another factor to bear in mind is product availability, says Rachel Shoosmith, marketing manager at Creative Foods, which has just launched a range of 100% chicken breast products under the Harvest Farms brand that includes golden, southern fried, and hot & spicy chicken goujons as well as and bite-sized Pop In chicken pieces. “Over the last two years, many operators have simplified their menus, and this means that they need to be sure that they can get regular deliveries of the core poultry products required to deliver those menus,” she says. “We are therefore focused on supplying products that are available and help operators halloumi burger

to keep their menus on-trend.” Whether you make your own or buy it in, remember the golden rule - your chicken should match the quality of your fish and chips, so don’t settle for anything less. And make sure the chicken you use is responsibly sourced and of a high grade. Central Foods 01604 858522 Creative Foods 01252 846500 Fast Food Systems 01189 441100 Meadow Vale Foods 01978 666100 Middleton Food Products 01902 608122 Rupert’s Ingredients 01709 891033 sh bites halloumi ies SCAN TO DOWNLOAD PRODUCT LIST

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Theo’s delivers British produced products, supported with flexible menu options designed to grow your business. Our range of high quality chicken based food solutions and service packages provide a powerful alternative to established high street brands. A healthy eating alternative presented with strong brand imagery, gives your customers a consistent quality product tailored to support a balanced diet. Equally important is the ease of preparation and serving options which make our products both simple to handle and practical to provide. Theo’s are producers and distributors of Grade ‘A’ marinated chicken and other catering products




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