herald

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Soggy summer could push the price of your fish and chips to €10

WE COULD soon be paying more than €10 for fish and chips thanks to the soaring price of spuds.

A soggy summer is being blamed for what some expect will be a sharp rise in the price of a single of chips.

And spiralling prices for fish means are expected to increase for the takeaway treat.

There are some 2,000 chippers around the country and many have already started to up their prices. They are reacting to the fact that a 25kg bag of spuds supplied to chip shops has gone from €8 last October to €16 today, according to Wesley Williams of chip shop supplier Silvio Rabbitte & Sons in Dublin.

And a shortage of spuds means many chippers are now using imported potatoes.

Chippers charge an average of €2.50 for a bag of chips, but are under huge pressure to hike their prices.

A one and one -- fish and chips -- costs between €8 and €10, but higher cod and haddock costs along with spiralling spud costs are combining to pile on pressure for higher prices.

Peter Borza of P Borza in Dublin's Liberties and Dalkey said the 200 members of his Irish Traditional Italian Chippers Association were in a desperate bid to maintain prices for a single despite the doubling in the cost of spuds.

One of the wettest and dullest summers on record meant his members were being forced to source spuds from Britain because of a shortage of supply here. But prices there have shot up also because of the wet summer and demand from Russia.

"The price of potatoes has doubled but it is very hard for us to put prices up. We are trying to hold on as long as we can, but the pressure is on for price rises," Mr Borza said.

He said most members of the Irish Italian Chippers Association were family-run which meant it was easier to contain costs, he said.

If prices had risen in line with inflation over the last 10 years a single would cost €4.



Pasta

Head of food at consultancy firm Grant Thornton, Ciara Jackson, said the price of potatoes had rocketed. Shoppers had to shell out 27pc more than last year.

"I've no doubt that chip shops around the country have had to hike their prices in response to the rising cost of their key input: the humble spud," Ms Jackson said.

"One concern is the surging price of potatoes will drive consumers to choose to buy rice and pasta instead, both of which are imported, whereas potatoes are home grown."

Mr Williams, of Silvio Rabbitte chip shop suppliers, said chippers had to have Maris Pipers or Markies, which are white varieties. A shortage of these meant it was forced to import at the moment.

"There is a shortage of potatoes which means that prices of bags of potatoes will go up again. Prices have already doubled from last October so chip shops are likely to have to charge more for a bag of chips."

hnews@herald.ie

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