UK chippies are 'working for free' as soaring prices wipe out profits

uk chippies are 'working for free' as soaring prices wipe out profits

Amadeu Catanho is one of many chippy owners concerned about the future of their businesses (Picture: SWNS)

The cost of living crisis is affecting every family and businesses in every industry – including the beloved chippy.

The average price of a chippy tea has gone up to £9 in the last year as ingredients and energy bills become more expensive.

And while chip shop owners are trying to keep their prices down so they don’t drive away customers, it’s feared up to a third of chippies across Britain could close in the next five years.

Andrew Crook owns Skippers in Chorley, Lancashire, and is also the chairman of the National Federation of Fish Friers.

Mr Crook, 47, hopes to shine a light on the struggles the humble chippy is facing amid increasing costs.

He said: ‘In the smaller shops it is very difficult to make a profit and there are a lot of shops up for sale at the moment.

‘Many of my members just feel completely ignored and disenfranchised.

‘My profits are non-existent. I’m losing money and working for free at the moment.

uk chippies are 'working for free' as soaring prices wipe out profits

The price of everything has gone up, from potatoes to oil (Picture: SWNS)

‘There are not many shops that are making profit. It is very difficult.

‘Since March last year I’ve gone from £7.25 for fish and chips to £9.50. I’ve not put them up as much as I need to cover my cost increases.

‘Potatoes are usually £8 a sack and will probably be £30 next week and I think they’ll reach £40 this year.

‘Palm oil and beef dripping were £14 for 12.5kg and they’ve gone to £24 or £25.

‘Sunflower oil was around £20 for 20 litres and is now at £43; and cod went from about £150 or £160 for 18kg to as high as £250.’

Food inflation, energy and fuel costs have driven up the cost of prices and the power to cook them.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also had an impact, as Ukraine had been the world’s leading exporter of sunflower oil before this.

Another chip shop owner worried about having to close is Amadeu Catanho, 54, who has owned Crispy Cod Fish Bar in Lockleaze, Bristol since 2005.

He said: ‘You never know what will happen to the prices.

‘The oil has doubled, the gas and electric has more than doubled and fish and everything else is following them.

‘I am worried. We are just wondering if we are going to be here in the future years. The way things are at the moment is very scary.

‘People are not coming here as much as they used to. They can’t afford to.

‘We are charging £9.90 for regular cod and chips. Three years ago it was £6.

‘We try to keep it low for our customers but it is very hard to keep our margins up.’

uk chippies are 'working for free' as soaring prices wipe out profits

Chippies are trying their best not to pass price increases onto their customers (Picture: SWNS)

Richard Colman Ord is the fifth generation of his family to run Colmans in South Shields, Tyneside.

He said friends in the industry have seen their energy bills increase from £1,000 per month to up to £5,000 a month.

Mr Colman, 50, said: ‘You can’t just find that kind of money. I do think prices will come down but never to where they were before. We will just have to absorb them.

‘I already know of a few that have had to close their doors and I do think more will follow because it is an extremely difficult climate.

‘We have only increased the price of cod and chips by about 80p because we don’t want to pass it all on to our customers.’

Nick Lomvardos, 56, owns Bishopston Fish Bar in Bristol and says the current situation is ‘crippling us’.

He added: ‘Every single week we are struggling with something new.

‘If it’s not the gas and electric, it’s the oil. If it’s not the oil, it’s the fish. If it’s not the fish, it’s the packaging. If it’s not the packaging, it’s the potatoes – they’ve gone from £6 a sack to £22 a sack.

‘There is no profit at all. This time last year fish and chips was £6, now it’s £10.

‘Hundreds of shops have closed. Every single day all around the country you see places up for sale and it is really sad.

‘I don’t want to close it down. I call it my baby. I started it from nothing.

‘I refuse to give up and will carry on until I fall ill or if it comes to the point where I’m losing a lot of money every month.’

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