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Ipswich/Felixstowe: Cheap as chips? Potato price hike causing problems for chippy owners

PUBLISHED: 15:02 23 January 2013 | UPDATED: 15:02 23 January 2013

Staff at the Nacton Road Fish Bar

Staff at the Nacton Road Fish Bar

Archant

IT is one of our best loved traditions, enjoyed by families up and down the country.

Chip facts

■ During the First World War, fish and chips were one of the few foods not to be rationed.

■ It is estimated that there are nearly 11,000 fish and chip shops in the UK.

■ It is rumoured that fish and chips was on Wayne and Colleen Rooney’s wedding menu.

■ One in six adults in the UK have fish and chips once or twice a week.

A trip to the local chip shop for battered cod or a tasty saveloy is as British as a cup of tea or a game of cricket.

But following a disastrous potato harvest last year, traders in Ipswich and Felixstowe claim the old saying “cheap as chips” couldn’t be further from the truth.

It is estimated the price for a bag of potatoes has trebled since the end of 2011 – and it has hit bosses in the fish and chips industry hard.

Bob Singh, the owner of Nacton Road Fish Bar, said: “A lot of our customers know our prices are reasonable, but a lot of them don’t know the value of potatoes. I think they (prices) will go down but chips aren’t cheap anymore. “It is still a tradition and we still have a queue on a Friday night, but it is hitting people hard.”

Mr Singh said at the end of 2011, a 25kg bag of potatoes cost between £4.25 and £5.50 – but now he is forking out nearly £13 for a sack.

He recently took the reluctant decision to raise the price of a bag of chips by 10p to £1.50.

Potato supplier Rob Denison, of O.B. Denison and Son, based in Ipswich, said the problems facing Mr Singh are industry wide.

He added: “It is because of the wet weather we had when the potatoes were planted early last year.

“The crop we are using now, when it was first planted, it was cold and wet and the crops never really got going.

“There was a lot of waste.”

Mr Denison said there are now a lot of potatoes imported from other European countries – many of which also had poor harvests.

Wing Chan, of Starfish in Wherstead Road, has had to raise the price of a bag of chips at his shop by 10p because of the price of potatoes.

“It is only because of the potato prices. If it wasn’t for the problem of lack of potatoes we would be alright,” he said.

“It is the chips that make us the money.”

Steve Phagura, recently took over as the owner of Bounty Fisheries in Felixstowe.

He has not yet increased the price of his chips but he admitted it is an avenue he may need to look into in the future.

He said: “Maybe a few months down the line we will have to raise the price because we can’t keep taking the loss.”

In October last year, the Potato Council said the washout had resulted in crops suffering from stunted growth and the increased price of fertiliser has also had an impact.

Police are appealing for information after an X-Box, games and jewellery were stolen during a burglary in Ipswich on Tuesday.

NHS Hospital trusts in Ipswich, West Suffolk and Colchester have failed to achieve their targets for admitting and treating accident and emergency patients.

Suffolk singing superstar Ed Sheeran has announced he is cancelling five upcoming tour dates in Asia after fracturing his wrist in a bicycle accident.

Organisers of Felixstowe’s annual fireworks spectacular are presenting live music on stage as part of this year’s 10th anniversary event.

A top leader in Suffolk’s Higher Education has expressed her pride at being awarded an honorary fellowship at the university she was instrumental in founding.

A Suffolk drone pilot is hoping that a 20-minute film he has made of boats on the River Orwell and other Suffolk features will lead to a successful new business.

A person who was struck by a train in Haughley tonight has died, British Transport Police have confirmed.

The first graduates of the University of Suffolk since it secured independence status last year gathered in Ipswich today to celebrate years of hard work.

The Great British Bake Off contestants grappled with “forgotten” British bakes in tonight’s quarter-final.

The world of football has united in mourning following the death of the son of Ipswich Town legend and former England captain Terry Butcher.

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