Seafood from Norway (SFN) and National Fish and Chip Award winners past and present have been donning festive “We Fish you a Merry Christmas” attire. Sharing season’s greetings, Whiteheads, The Fish Works, Fish City, Harlees, Pimp My Fish, Lighthouse Fisheries of Flamborough, The Real Food Café, Millers, Krispies and Cod’s Scallops and have been cheerily serving up portions of fish and chips using responsibly sourced Norwegian cod and haddock, and reminiscing about some of the lighter moments of 2023.
The year got off to a bang, with SFN sponsoring the National Fish and Chip Awards arranged by the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) in February. After months of extensive judging, a fantastic night was had and as the winners were crowned, they celebrated being the best in the business.
Norway Day in May brought another opportunity to recognise two great ocean nations coming together over Britain’s favourite dish. With festivities across the UK in National Fish & Chip Award winning venues, and main celebrations in London with Pimp My Fish, flags were waved and seafood enjoyed all round.
As summer neared, National Fish and Chip Day, arranged by NEODA, saw SFN offering a plethora of content and resources to support the industry and publicise the event. Many shops went all out, offering promotions and putting on specials for what really is one of the best calendar days of the year!
Being rewarded for their hard work and continued support for the industry, the winners of the 2023 National Fish & Chip Awards embarked on a study trip to Norway to visit the western shores and to experience for themselves why the country really is a true seafood nation.
The action-packed trip included a voyage onboard Atlantic, one of Norway’s frozen-at-sea vessels, where the champions experienced first-hand the fleet’s world-class sustainable processes and facilities. A visit to Ellingsøy, the northernmost island in Ålesund, gave the group an opportunity to meet with Brødrene Sperre, one of Norway’s largest producers of wild caught fish. Coming home, the winners were buoyed by their experience and excited to be able to share some of their new knowledge with their teams and customers.
More recently, the newly appointed Norwegian Ambassador to the UK, HE Tore Hattrem, took his first official visit to the UK’s seafood capital, Grimsby, together with Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) CEO Christian Chramer and UK Director Victoria Braathen. The visit included a fish and chips programme with Martin Vickers MP for Cleethorpes, Andrew Crook President of the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) and 2023 National Fish & Chip Award winner Geoff Whitehead of Whiteheads Fish & Chips. Enjoying an iconic lunch together at Papas Cleethorpes, they were able to celebrate and cement the relationship between the two fishing nations.
Looking to 2024 and the next National Fish and Chip Awards, of which SFN is the principal sponsor and a sponsor of the Environment and Sustainability category, there is enthusiasm around industry innovation to make it a more sustainable one, with future generations in mind. Furthermore, March will see SFN sponsor the Fry Awards, a celebration of the 50 best takeaways and 10 best restaurants across the UK.
The Norwegian seafood industry has worked closely with the fish and chip industry in the UK for many years and this collaboration and dialogue will remain key. We look forward to supporting the industry with more engaging initiatives and continuing valued partnerships with NFFF, NEODA and FASFA, and of course the many talented operators, distributors and media championing fish and chips across the UK.
NSC UK Director, Victoria Braathen said: “It’s been a productive year in fish and chips. Whilst it hasn’t gone without its challenges, more than ever we see a sense of the industry pulling together to showcase fish and chips and doing some great collaborative work. It’s inspiring to be a part of this, and to have had so many positive interactions with incredibly talented stakeholders and operators whose passion for great quality fish and chips is unrivalled. We’re looking ahead to 2024, but couldn’t let 2023 pass without acknowledging some of our favourite moments.”
For more information about sustainably caught cod and haddock from Norway, visit www.seafoodfromnorway.co.uk.