UK could lose more than a third of its iconic fish and chip shops


The blows of The Russian invasion of Ukraine continue to reverberate through various parts of the global economy, trade and politics, with the latest seemingly random target of this conflict striking near and far in the hearts of Britons everywhere: the fate of fish shops and crisps from the UK.

The global food supply chain has already faced an increasing number of hurdles in recent years and months, with labor shortages, climate change and recent trade hiccups all overcoming soaring prices and increased shortage of ingredients. When Russia began its globally sanctioned invasion of Ukraine, alarm bells were ringing for countries that relied on vital imports from the Eastern European nation. This included flour, sunflower oil and more.

Related: We’re not just facing a supply chain problem – for grocers, it’s also a labor rights problem

As the conflict evolved and environmental pressures continued to tighten, a perfect storm emerged to potentially push many long-suffering stores, as reported. Politics.

The president of the The National Federation of Fish Fryers had estimated before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, up to a third of shops in the UK could close due to supply and labor shortages, in addition to increased taxes. However, he was quoted in the aforementioned Politico article saying the number would likely be higher, given the new constraints introduced by the geopolitical dispute which appears to have no end in sight.

The difficulties start early on with the process of making the iconic dish, which consists of fried fish, “chips” (fries for the uneducated) and peas.

For starters, there is already pressure on global vegetable oil supplies, pressure that will only get worse. Shortages of white fish, shortages of breadcrumbs and even shortages of energy to cook the dish itself mean trouble for small businesses battered by COVID – no pun intended.

What follows will now be a question of adaptation: among the many new challenges presented, will the purveyors of this classic dish find a way to evolve with the times? Or will they be forced to close their doors, losing those newspaper-wrapped delights forever?

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