Palmer-Tomkinson will today (Monday July 16) launch the 2001 Fish & Chip
Shop of the Year competition organised by the Sea Fish Industry Authority
Self-confessed fish and chip addict Tara
was chosen to be the face of this years competition to reflect its
new found status as being amongst the UKs most fashionable - as
well as the most popular - take away meal.
From Monday, fish and chip lovers will
have two weeks to vote for their favourite shop from friers
throughout the UK who have entered the competition. This year has
seen a huge number of entries vying for the coveted title, which
will be presented by Tara at a prestigious ceremony in Londons Café
Royal in November.
Organiser Malcolm Large from Seafish says
the launch of the annual competition, now in its 14th year, gives
the perfect opportunity to celebrate the contribution that the UKs
8,600 fish and chip shops make to the nation. Fish and chips is
beating off some stiff competition to still be the number one choice
for the nations take away food, he says.
Last year, our fish and chip shops sold
more than 272 million meals, with one in ten of the population
visiting a shop at least once a week.
"Most importantly, research shows that
the most frequent visitors to fish and chip shops are 16-24 year
olds. This proves that as well as being enjoyed by more traditional
customers, fish and chips is also appealing to a younger audience
especially when compared to other fast food outlets."
"Our industry is continually adapting and
innovating to meet the demands of all generations, giving customers
improved eating experiences, better levels of customer service and a
wider range of products than ever before.
He adds: The good news for the fish and
chip lovers, reflected by the enthusiasm shown by friers in entering
the competition, is that fish and chips is definitely back in
In total the fish and chips industry in
the UK employs around 61,000 people and enjoys a turnover of more
than £600 million per year.
A look at this years competition
entrants confirms that fish and chips is big business, with
participating shops enjoying an average turnover of between £200,000
and £300,000 per year.
As Malcolm Large explains, fish and chip
shops are experimenting with different products and cooking styles
to meet increasing consumer demands for more variety and healthier
As well as the standard cod, plaice and
haddock, more exotic varieties of fish such as red snapper, hoki and
even shark are now appearing on menus. And fish is increasingly
served with lighter batters, fried in vegetable-based oils or even
griddled or poached to appeal to the more health conscious consumer.
Levels of customer service are also improving, with many friers
holding National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in hygiene and
So advanced is the UKs fish and chip
industry that it is now playing its rivals game and being
successfully exported to all parts of the globe.
Last year, Nicky Perry opened the very
first authentic fish and chip shop in New York, called A Salt and
Battery using traditional British equipment and cooking methods
which has proved to be a bit hit with both Americans and ex-pats
Voting for the 2001 Fish & Chip Shop
of the Year Competition will begin at participating shops on Monday
16 July, and will last for two weeks. Customers will be asked to
fill out competition forms asking them why their favourite fish and
chip shop should win the title.
From the customer forms, and following
visits from mystery shoppers and Seafish investigators, the list
of entries will be whittled down to eight regional winners,
announced in October.
Regional winners will go head-to-head in
the grand fish and chip shop final, which takes place at the Café
Royal in London on 14 November 2001, when the overall winner will be
For the winners - both regional and
national - the rewards are great. Publicity value alone can leave a
long lasting impression with customers and have a massive impact on
business. This is endorsed by last years winner, Les Manning owner
of Less Fish Bar in Crewe in Cheshire.
He says: Since winning last year,
business has gone through the roof and we are now looking to expand.
Following international TV radio and press coverage, weve had
customers come from as far afield as Scotland, the South of England
and the continent to sample our now famous fish and chips.
12th July 2001