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Fish & Seafood

FISH & CHIPS – “BACK IN FASHION!”

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson Launches the Fish & Chip Shop of the Year Competition 2001

Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson will today (Monday July 16) launch the 2001 Fish & Chip Shop of the Year competition organised by the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish).

Self-confessed fish and chip addict Tara was chosen to be the face of this year’s competition to reflect its new found status as being amongst the UK’s 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 London’s 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 UK’s 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 nation’s 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 fashion!”

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 year’s 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 eating meals.

“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 food preparation.”

So advanced is the UK’s 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 alike.

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 announced.

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 year’s winner, Les Manning owner of Les’s 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, we’ve 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

Winner 2000

Les's Fish Bar, Crewe

Les Manning from Les's Fish Bar in Crewe receives trophy from fish & chip fanatic and TV personality Jilly Goolden for winning the National Fish and Chip Shop of the Year award 2000

 

 

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