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Experts warn price of chips could double in UK 'potato crisis'

Experts warn costs of chips will double - and the price won't drop until at least 2024. Two experts have cast their expert opinions on the ongoing 'potato crisis' - warning it is far from over.

Last month farmers' said potato prices will rise due to crops being ravaged by the heatwaves. Due to the lack of moisture in the soil, potatoes, which are around 80% water, would be in shorter supply, they said.


Now chip experts say wholesale prices are on the rise as a result - costs which will be passed on to customers in restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets. Coupled with the rising prices of oil and energy, this could see a portion of humble chip shop chips double in cost, said one expert.


This comes just months after National Federation of Fish Friers warned the cost of cod has risen by 75%. Grocery retail expert Will Broome said: "Cod prices have tripled already. So fish and chip shops were only making a margin on the chips.


"Now potato prices are going up too, it almost makes it not worth it. If chip shops wanted to keep the same margins they would have to charge twice as much.


"The alternative is them making a loss. At the end of the day it becomes a tug-of-war on profits and the burden lies with the consumer."


He warned the classic fish and chips on the menu at your local pub might be at risk too. Will, CEO of retail app Ubamarket, said after a Sunday roast, fish and chips are the most popular pub food to order.


But with rising costs forcing prices up, in some cases this could result from the much-loved dish being cut from menus. And he warned the situation will affect independents the most - as, unlike chains, they can't afford to absorb the extra costs.


Another expert, Steve Clarke from food wholesalers Q Catering, warned the worst is far from over. He says the current situation is a crisis for our potato industry - and it's far from over.


He said: "We are expecting a significant increase in potato prices again next year. If we experience similar hot weather next year too, we will have big problems as we are already playing catch-up from this year.


"And the potatoes we do get can't be stored because they don't have as much moisture from the ground, so they rot quicker. I can't see any real reduction in potato prices next year either - it'll be 2024 at the absolute earliest."


He added that potatoes are unlikely to be the only food affected by the heatwave - and many vegetable prices will shoot up due to lower crops. Q Catering said feedback from their suppliers shows peas - the humble vegetable known to accompany a fish and chip dinner - are also at risk.


In the UK, they have seen a 10-15% drop in volume of peas harvested, while in Spain farmers have seen a 30% drop.


He warned: "Poor crops are compounded with rising manufacturing and energy costs, and people having less money in their pockets. It's the perfect storm."

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