In a poignant turn of events, the iconic fish and chip industry in East Neuk of Fife, Scotland, is facing an unprecedented crisis. As Tom Lamont reports in a news story for The Guardian, the region, renowned for arguably the best fish and chips in the world, is witnessing the closure of its cherished chippies due to escalating costs and economic challenges.
Last summer, the region’s fish and chip industry was thriving, with tourists flocking to enjoy the staple meal. However, by July 2022, local friers were struggling to balance their books. The war in Ukraine and Brexit complications had driven up prices of essential goods, from ingredients to packaging. Rising energy costs added to the distress, with gas and electricity prices threatening to double or triple. The National Federation of Fish Friers warned that up to a third of the UK’s 10,500 shops might close, hinting at a potential “extinction event”.
Three businesses, the Pittenweem Fish Bar in Pittenweem, the Wee Chippy in Anstruther, and the Popular in Dundee, were particularly affected. By the following summer, two of the three businesses had closed, forced to shut down against their owners’ will. The closures have led to a sense of mourning in the community, as they bid farewell to a beloved local figure and a cherished trade.
The crisis has raised concerns about the future of the fish and chip industry in all of the UK, a staple of British cuisine nonetheless. As costs continue to rise and economic conditions worsen, the future of this industry remains uncertain.
Source: The Guardian. Read the full story here
Photo: The Wee Chippy, Anstruther, in 2023, after it reopened following a fire in 2018. Credit Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian