Brexit-related labour shortages and the climate emergency will mean potato shortages and price hikes this year, experts have warned.
A recent report by a leading catering buying company has revealed even those who have been in the industry for a long time are concerned about the level of the problem, which was previously unseen.
Rachel Dobson, Lynx Purchasing managing director said: “UK pubs and restaurants serving popular dishes like fish and chips could find their usual supplier isn’t able to deliver.”
“Come Christmas, we could find that the roast potato, a staple of festive dinners, is also in short supply,” Dobson said.
She added: “Even for anyone who has worked in purchasing for some time, this is as significant and widespread a challenge as we’ve seen.”
She said recent floods in Europe, caused by global heating, affected potato growers and processors on the continent, and this is likely to have an impact on UK potato lovers.
A report by the Irish Farmers’ Association has revealed around 20,000 hectares of farming land were damaged as a result of extreme weather causing floods.
Farmers are therefore expecting a much lower quantity of potatoes, also of lower quality.
Last month, it was revealed British takeaways have taken a major hit because of Brexit.
Research by online food delivery service Foodhub revealed takeaway restaurants across the country have been experiencing rising costs of ingredients and delays in ports because of Brexit.
Phil Adams, general manager at the Tiger Bite takeaway in Stoke-on-Trent, said: “Since leaving the EU, we have seen price increases in flour, chips, chicken and cheese, which are four of our most heavily ordered items.
“In addition, other or most items will have had a small rise, but the flour, chips, chicken and cheese are the ones that have hit us the hardest.
Adams said 90 per cent of his customers order chips, but that the product has experienced “the biggest cost rise and the highest risk of being unavailable.”
“How many people will realistically order from a takeaway that has run out of chips, or hiked their price dramatically?,” he asked.
Farewell fish and chips?
“If a business doesn’t have a core item available, you lose a whole order of £15-£20, not just the £2 portion of chips. And you’d lose a massive percentage of those orders. Overnight your business has the potential to slip away.”
Earlier this year, Labour MP Karl Turner called on Boris Johnson to secure fishing rights for a British super trawler that was left unable to fish.
The Kirkella freezer trawler, based in Hull, caught cod and haddock in sub-Arctic waters – but Brexit had left it marooned without a fishing agreement.
Kirkella was at the time supplying up to 12 per cent of all fish sold in UK’s fish and chips shops – and warned problems with Brexit negotiations could have lead to more imports from Norway and Iceland.