Irish chippers hit by ‘perfect storm’ of Covid-19 and Ukraine war

Chip shops hit by a “perfect storm” of Covid-19, inflation and the war in Ukraine could suffer a “wave of closures”, industry experts fear.

They have warned that high costs caused by shortages of fish, potatoes, cooking oil and flour are causing an unprecedented crisis for Ireland’s 450 chippers.

Industry figures warned that many in the trade closed shops as their overheads soared and fish prices doubled.

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They said Russia’s war has worsened global shortages of key ingredients like sunflower oil that were already experiencing major difficulties amid the pandemic.

Award-winning member of the Irish Traditional Italian Chippers Association, Dario Macari, said: “The industry was recovering from the Covid problems when Ukraine arrived.

He explained: “Cod has doubled in price. It has risen by at least 100%.

“We receive flour from Italy, but others have been waiting for a shipment since March, so there are logistical problems related to Ukraine.

“Ukraine also produces huge amounts of grain.

“And energy costs have really gone up. Recently, a chip shop would have expected to pay 15 or 16 cents for a kilowatt of power.

“But that now costs about 40 cents per kilowatt, which means a store that used to pay 1,500 to 2,000 euros a month in energy costs now pays 4,000 to 5,000 euros.”

Dario said there were now real fears that many chippers would be forced to close in the next 12 months if things didn’t improve.

He added: “All these issues come at us from all angles. It’s a perfect storm for all of us.

“Costs are rising and there could be a wave of closures. There is a lot of hard thinking in our sector.”

A large percentage of white fish such as cod and haddock comes from Russian ships in the North Sea, so chip shops fear sanctions on Russian fish will reduce supplies and make catches more expensive. Even potato prices are affected, as some fertilizers for potatoes come from Russia and their price has tripled.

Meanwhile, another source added: “We don’t want to be alarmist, but it’s a disaster. Some foods are more expensive between 100% and 200%.

“Reports in the UK stated that a third of chippers could close and that situation could repeat itself here, unfortunately.”

Award-winning family-owned chip shop chain Romayo de Dario is overcoming the odds, saying, “We’re absorbing costs as much as we can and we’re all doing our best to deliver great value to our customers.”

A large percentage of white fish such as cod and haddock comes from Russian ships in the North Sea, so chip shops fear sanctions on Russian fish will reduce supplies and make catches more expensive.

Even potato prices are affected, as some fertilizers for potatoes come from Russia and their price has tripled.

Irish farmers grow 300,000 tonnes of potatoes each year for domestic consumption, but we also import an additional 80,000 tonnes worth €45m, most of which (around 64,000 worth €33m) comes from the UK, where up to 33% of chip shops are located. tilted to close.

“Things are not much different in Ireland and we are being affected. Some companies just survive day to day.

“Cod prices may have doubled and the chippers can’t absorb the full cost of that, but they’re not passing on the costs to make a profit; It’s about survival.”

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine has been asked to respond to the companies’ concerns.

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