KFE Fish & Chips Survey compares prices and portion sizes
Charlie Bennett
June 17, 2024

The average price for a “regular” portion of fish and chips across the UK stands at £10.88, according to a new industry report by range supplier KFE.

The KFE Fish & Chips Survey 2024, which compares prices, portion sizes and future plans, reveals significant variations within shops across the nation.

In terms of prices, the most expensive regular fish and chips are in London at £22.50. This is for a 7-8oz portion of fish and a 12oz portion of chips. The cheapest are in West Yorkshire where a 6-8oz portion of fish is served with a “scoop” of chips for £6.70.

The average size for a regular fish is 7-8oz, according to the report, although some shops are offering regular portions as large as 12oz. The smallest regular portion recorded is 4-6oz.

Chip portions saw even greater variation. While the average size for a regular portion of chips weighs in at 10oz, the largest comes in at a whopping 20oz from a chippy in Nottingham. Here, a meal of fish and chips costs £10.45. In contrast, the smallest regular portion of chips is 4oz in a Scarborough takeaway where fish and chips cost £10.

While over two-thirds (68%) of shops know the size of the chip portions they are dishing up, almost a quarter (23%) admit to having no idea. Almost one in ten (9%) say they measure their chips by “scoop” with two scoops being the average.

What is your number one selling side?

When it comes to sides, curry sauce is out in front as the most popular (55%) while the preferred frying medium is palm oil (43%).

What frying medium do you use?

What dietary requirements do you accommodate?

Proving that shops are adapting to contemporary trends and catering to a wider range of dietary requirements, over two-thirds now (70%) offer vegetarian options. Additionally, half of shops (50%) offer gluten free, with vegan (44%), salads (44%) and baked fish (40%) also on the menu at around four in ten shops. Just 15% of shops do not offer any of these options.

What is the biggest challenge your business faces at the moment?

When asked about the biggest challenges currently facing their businesses, operators identified rising costs as the top concern (36%), followed by difficulties in staff recruitment (25%) and the impact of VAT (21%). Despite these challenges, shops are optimistic about the future, seeing deliveries and online ordering as presenting the most significant opportunities. Other avenues for business growth include diversifying menus, winning awards, offering more homemade items, and targeting the younger market.

What additional services do you offer?

Reflecting the growing role of technology, as well as the demand for convenience in the fish and chip industry, 50% of shops surveyed said they offer click-and-collect, 39% provide delivery, and 6% have introduced self-service options. However, over a third (37%) of shops still do not offer any of these services.

Do you see yourself investing in the next 12 months?

Optimism shines through again in the report with 75% of operators surveyed planning to invest in their businesses over the next 12 months. The top investment priorities include hiring more staff, followed by staff training, implementing new technology, acquiring new equipment, and expanding or renovating premises. Additionally, more than one in ten (12%) operators plan to expand their businesses by opening new shops.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Williams, Managing Director at KFE, says: “The average UK price of a “standard” portion of fish and chips is now over £10, which is where many operators have been suggesting it should be for quite a while. That is consistent with a Chinese meal, (main and rice) but still 25-30% less than a typical Indian meal (main and rice), showing that fish and chips is still a great value takeaway.

“Having started in this industry in 1978, I remember the days where a 3-4oz piece of fish and 4-5oz chips was a portion of fish and chips! The average now is 7-8oz fish and 10oz of chips – more than double the size, with many shops offering even larger portions. I think we all recognise that as competition from more and more takeaway foods arrived during the 1980s and VAT was introduced, fish and chip operators response, in general, was to increase portion sizes.”

Concerned by the lack of portion control highlighted in the report, with huge variations between what constitutes a regular portion across the country, Paul adds: “The fact that many staff and operators are unsure of what they are giving away is worrying. For profitability, shops need to get a handle on this. We are one of the only industries where portions vary so widely. If you order a 12 inch pizza, you know what you are getting. Likewise, if you order a quarter pounder burger, you know what you are going to get. With fish and chips, customers do not know what they are going to get from one shop to another – and sometimes even from one visit to another at the same shop.

“It is encouraging, however, to see confidence returning to the market. Whilst the report shows that challenges clearly remain, the pressure seems to be easing, prompting operators to invest in their businesses as well as look at growth opportunities.”

The survey questioned 100 KFE customers from across the UK between April and May 2024.

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