Thursday 23 October 2014

Punters face a battering as bag of chips set for dramatic jump in price

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Published 23/01/2013 | 05:00

THE average price of the humble bag of chips is set to jump to more than €2.50 after a doubling in the cost of potatoes.

And spiralling cod and haddock costs are putting pressure on chip shop owners to increase the price of fish and chips to more than €10.

A soggy summer is being blamed for what some expect will be a sharp rise in the price of a single of chips.

There are as many as 2,000 chippers around the country, a lot of which have already started to increase prices.

They are reacting to the fact that the cost of a 25kg bag supplied to chip shops has gone from €8 last October to €16 today, according to Wesley Williams of chip shop supplier Silvio Rabbitte & Sons in Dublin. And many chippers are now using imported potatoes.

Chippers charge an average of €2.50 for a bag of chips, but are under huge pressure to hike their prices.

A one and one – fish and chips – costs between €8 and €10, but higher cod and haddock costs are also piling on pressure for higher prices.

Peter Borza of P Borza in Dublin's Liberties and Dalkey said the 200 members of his Irish Traditional Italian Chippers Association were in a desperate bid to maintain prices for a single despite the doubling in the cost of spuds.

One of the wettest and dullest summers on record meant his members were being forced to source spuds from Britain. But prices of British spuds have shot up also because of the wet summer and demand from Russia.

"The price of potatoes has doubled, but it is very hard for us to put prices up. We are trying to hold on as long as we can," Mr Borza said.

He said most members were family-run businesses, which meant it was easier to contain costs. If prices had risen in line with inflation over the last 10 years then a single would cost €4, he said.

Head of food at consultancy firm Grant Thornton, Ciara Jackson, said the price of potatoes had rocketed. Shoppers were being forced to shell out 27pc more than last year.

"I've no doubt that chip shops around the country have had to hike their prices in response to the cost," Ms Jackson said.

'Concern'

"One concern is that the surging price of potatoes will drive consumers to choose to buy rice and pasta instead, both of which are imported, whereas potatoes are home grown."

Mr Williams of Silvio Rabbitte chip shop suppliers said chippers had to have Maris Pipers or Markies, which are white varieties. A shortage of these potatoes meant it was forced to import at the moment.

"There is a shortage of potatoes, which means that prices of bags of potatoes will go up again. Prices have already doubled from last October so chip shops are likely to have to charge more for a bag of chips."

Irish Independent

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