Cost of living crisis: Burnley chip shop owners discuss price of fish and financial pressures facing the business

A chippy tea, a fish supper, or a good old portion of chips and gravy – however you like to call your food from the local chip shop there’s no doubt that our well-loved chippies are under threat from the ongoing cost of living crisis.

By Dominic Collis
Monday, 27th June 2022, 5:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 1:59 pm

There’s never a week goes by when we don’t hear about the price of, well, pretty much everything going up. And, sadly, if you’re a chippy lover at least, that includes the price of your favourite bag of fish and chips.

So, with that in mind, the Burnley Express decided to ask our local chip shop, Rosegrove Chippy, how the situation was affecting them – and a good excuse for the author to tuck into a portion of sausage, chips and curry sauce mid-interview.

You’ll be pleased to learn that owners, brothers Neil and Rhys Cole, were rather more chipper than expected.

Rhys and Neil Cole from Rosegrove Chippy

Neil, from Haslingden, said: “There’s no doubt that the price of a lot of the ingredients we use have gone up, but we’re still keeping pretty busy and we hope to continue to do so.”

Neil went on to explain how various outside factors have affected the prices of different ingredients, and while most have gone up some surprisingly have gone down.

It has been well documented that the ongoing war in Ukraine has led to a sharp rise in oil prices, something Neil confirmed when he revealed that in the three years he’s been at the business the price of oil has quadrupled.

"We bulk buy all our ingredients obviously and yes the price of oil has really gone up. When we started three years ago, it cost £9 for a 12.5kg box of oil. Now it’s around £25 a box.

"It had been gradually going up like anything else but has really shot up recently.”

Fish, once considered a weekly go-to, is now being considered a more intermittent treat to many consumers due to the sky-rocketing prices.

Neil added: “Our fish consignment from our wholesalers usually cost us £130, but within the last six months it has gone up to £200.

"Some people blame Brexit, but we get our fish from Iceland and Russia. It’s all about supply and demand. Basically people around the world are eating more fish while stocks are declining so this pushes the price up.”

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It’s not all bad news headlines staring up from a chip shop wrapper though.

Neil explained that the other staple of a chippy, the popular British spud which goes on to become our chips, has actually seen prices come down.

"The price of potatoes fluctuate depending on the weather in any given growing season,” Neil explained.

"When we started, a bag of spuds cost us £14, while currently it’s £10. Basically, it’s weather dependent. In 2020 we had a good warm spring but last year was cold so the crop wasn’t as good.

"Whether it’s fish or potatoes, we always try to source the best ingredients so we pay a bit more. You get what you pay for.

"I know some chippies are moving away from cod and haddock but we want the quality. We’ve only had to put our prices up once recently, but we’re lucky that there’s just two of us. Our overheads aren’t as high as the bigger chippies.”