Hello everyone, Abs here from Rabs Fish and Chips, coming to you with an update on a pressing matter that’s been affecting us, along with all the small, family-owned fish and chip shops around the UK.
You might have noticed that we’re dealing with a bit of a potato crisis. What used to be a staple, low-cost food in the UK has become another casualty of soaring grocery prices. Whether it’s for a chippy on the high street or the oven chips at your local supermarket, potatoes are more expensive than ever.
For some, the steep increase in the cost of potatoes – we’re talking a price more than doubled, from £10 to £20+ for a 25kg sack – could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Andrew Crook, President of the National Federation of Fish Friers, has mentioned how this surge in costs could push some chippies to close down.
At Rabs Fish and Chips, we’re all about providing you with the best quality food at an affordable price. We’ve absorbed many of these rises, keeping our heads above water and ensuring we can continue to serve up your favourite fish and chips. However, these escalating potato costs are adding to the existing pressures from rising fish prices, expensive cooking oil, and costly electricity to power our fryers.
We’re committed to weathering this storm, and to do that, we’re considering making changes to elements that matter less to the quality of our food. One area we’re eyeing is our packaging. We’ve always been keen on keeping our environmental impact minimal, and that won’t change. However, we might be moving away from our cardboard boxes to more cost-effective, yet still recyclable, packaging solutions.
But why are potato prices soaring? It seems to be a blend of factors – smaller potato crop yields from last year’s drought, escalating production costs due to Brexit, COVID, and the situation in Ukraine, and a supply and demand imbalance.
While the UK is mostly self-sufficient in growing potatoes, these challenges are causing ripples in the market, pushing prices upwards. Even as we see potato prices rise, industry group GB Potatoes’ Chair, Mark Taylor, assures us that potatoes still offer good value for money compared to other staples like pasta and rice, which have also seen price increases.
As a small, family-owned business, we feel the pinch more acutely. We don’t have the luxury of long-term contracts that some big retailers and food manufacturers do, which insulate them somewhat from market price fluctuations. We buy our potatoes in smaller quantities on the open market, which means we’re more exposed to these price changes.
For some chippies, the solution might lie in sourcing potatoes from places like Cyprus or Spain. Still, the downside is that we are close to paying over £30 a sack. At Rabs, we’re exploring all avenues to ensure we continue to provide the food you love at a price that’s fair.
These are tough times, but we want to reassure you that we’re doing everything in our power to navigate this situation without compromising on quality or increasing our prices significantly. It’s not an easy task, but we’re committed to our community and serving up the delicious, comforting meals you’ve come to know and love at Rabs.
Stay strong, keep supporting your local chippies, and let’s ride this potato storm out together.