I didn’t expect for one minute that our Fish and Chip Industry would allow the January blues to dampen their party at this year’s National Fish and Chip Awards - they didn’t let me down!
A great day was had by all for what was the 30th edition of the awards held in the grand setting of the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.
There were 650 guests celebrating everything that is great about our iconic British meal. This year there were 16 awards recognising the contributions, skills, creativity and sheer hard work that goes into serving up the nation’s healthiest takeaway meal.
Of course, there is a sound rationale for undertaking the awards scheme every year as they provide a unique marketing platform for the sector to help it compete with the corporate fast food giants found along our high streets. 10,500 independent businesses find it difficult, in isolation, to make their collective voice heard. The awards represent an opportunity for a united front and the telling of a compelling story. I’d like to thank all the sponsors and trade bodies that collaborate to help the awards be the huge success that they are. It wouldn’t be possible without them.
The Seafish Executive team even enjoyed a delicious trip to the new Fish and Chip Takeaway of the Year, Millers in York, to sample the award winning produce. A full list of sponsors and award winners (Trenchers of Whitby were finalists in fish and chip restaurant of the year) can be found on the website.
In my opening remarks at the start of the awards, I noted how strong sales were at the moment.
Fish and chip servings are at their highest level since records began with servings across the UK up 9% from the previous year.
More than half of those (103million portions) are served up by Independent Fish and Chip Shops.
Trends come and trends go but fish and chips remain an integral part of UK history and tradition – at Seafish we will continue to support this important sector as it plays a vital part in helping to grow seafood consumption.
So a great, upbeat way to start 2018. Seafish is currently working up its Corporate Plan for 2018-21 and our detailed work plan for 2018/19.
Those plans are going to be addressing many of the challenges faced by our stakeholders. I’m excited about the year ahead and how Seafish can help all our stakeholders move ahead in 2018.