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Covid-19 lockdown: Fish and chip shop closures sting Kiwi potato and fish suppliers

It’s a cherished tradition in New Zealand – the Friday fish and chip run – but right now the industries that supply it are taking a battering. New Zealand produces 500 million kilograms of potatoes each year and half of that ends up as frozen chips with the vast majority being sold to takeaway shops and restaurants.

Potatoes New Zealand chief executive Chris Claridge said people making do by whipping up their greasies at home had increase its supermarket sales, but that was nowhere near enough.

”That hasn’t made up for a drop in demand from the hospitality sector in the food service sector, which has essentially gone to zero.” Claridge said without the chip shops and restaurants, growers would have to look at cutting back planting which could hurt the industry long-term.

Right now it is unclear what the rules are for fish and chip shops under level-three restrictions. Claridge said he wanted the chippers to be allowed to reopen as soon as the alert level drops. “Because that allows people … to get access to hot chips in your suburban, local fish and chip shop.

“It’s local, it’s easy walking distance, they can take orders by phone. Having those sorts of outlets available for the industry is crucial for our long-term function.”

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said in a statement that one in five hospitality businesses would close permanently because of the coronavirus pandemic, with half likely to be wiped out in the tourist hotspots.

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment said in a statement that decisions about how the country exited the lockdown had not been finalised yet.

Source: RNZ. Read the full article here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor/Publisher of Potato News Today

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