Monday, November 20, 2006

Pricey chips

Chips are set to soar in price — because of the sizzling summer.

Britons were warned yesterday that supplies of top quality frying potatoes have slumped after the hot weather hit crops.

Rob Burrow, of the British Potato Council, told trade magazine The Grocer: “It is lowest production year for ten years and probably one of the worst ever.”

The news follows a rise in the cost of cod — which has seen the price of fish and chips rocket by up to 50p at takeaways up and down the country.

Chippies have also been hit by a hike in the cost of cooking oil and increased fuel charges. In some places Britain’s favourite dish now costs more than a fiver.

The British Potato Council said this year’s total crop of frying spuds was 5.53million tonnes — down 5 per cent.
Imports will be unable to plug the gap because continental countries have been even harder hit — although new supplies could come from further afield, such as Israel and Egypt.

The hot weather has also led to spuds falling victim to diseases such as scab. That means more of the potato goes to waste when it is peeled.

Phil Graham, of frozen chip firm McCain, said: “Raw material prices will increase markedly after Christmas. “We are only five months into the season so there is a long way to go. There could be a sting in the tail.”

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