Let’s talk Fish and Chips food trends shall we? Fish and Chips – a British classic served 382 million times a year with a touch of fame. Indeed, our iconic battered fish and chips is the most “instagrammable” UK dish with an impressive 1.7 million hashtags. Enough to displace its infamous rival – the Sunday Roast. So yes, fish and chips are still a well loved meal enjoyed by all generations, bringing comforting feelings of “familiarity”. In addition, fish and chip shops have managed to build enough resilience and customer reassurance for Brits to consider fish and chips as the safest takeaway option. Impressive, right? But what about the future? Food consumer habits are constantly changing and 2021 is no exception. Vegans, sustainability-seekers, gourmet palates – even the most classic dishes have to innovate to beat competition and be ready for the new generations of consumers. So if you thought Gravy vs. Curry Sauce was the most controversial chippy chat, wait for the Masala vs. Jackfruit debate…
Curious? Read along, we’re about to tuck into the latest (and weirdest?) food trends in the Fish & Chip shop market. Enjoy!
1. New diets to be considered by Fish & Chip shop chefs
It’s easy to get lost when building a food menu for your Fish & Chip shop. And knowing about fish and chips food trends is essential. Indeed, diets keep changing, following new waves of inspirational chefs, foodies, nutritionists and health experts. You probably know of vegan, pescitarian and vegetarian diets, right? But have you ever heard of the ovo vegetarian diet? This is basically a mix of a vegetarian and vegan diet, where all animal products (meat, fish and dairy) are avoided, except eggs. So if you’re serving up some chips to an ovo vegetarian, make sure to remove any trace of dairy and skip the tartare and Worcester sauces! Oh, and if you have a customer claiming to be archevore, don’t panic – they’re just avoid gluten and fructose, so consider showing them your gluten-free battered fish!
In summary, no need to panic but ensure your staff (especially front-of-house) and menus clearly display all ingredients to allow customers to make informed choices. That way, your archevore client will have no trouble opting for your delicious gluten-free fish cake!
2. Tofish - the end already?
Veganism is still on the rise in the UK – with a 40% increase of Vegans in Britain, just in 2020. And soy-based tofu has shown to be a rather cheap and loved alternative to fish and has been a strong fish and chips food trend for a while. So the real question is… has tofu passed its golden age? If you are already trying to orientate your Chippy towards a more sustainable business with MSC approved fish, be aware of your Tofish offerings. Tofu is actually getting a lot of bad buzz at the moment with claims of being unsustainable and linked to deforestation. So what else can you offer? By having a quick look at new alternatives served by some Fish & Chip shops you can quickly see that tofu isn’t that unique anymore. Jackfruit, banana blossom, celeriac, aubergine – we will tell you all about the latest vegan alternatives that many Chippies are now trying out!
3. The latest fish-free twists for your Fish & Chip Shop
Full beam on Banana Blossom
First, the taste and texture. Banana blossom is being more and more used as a fish alternative due to its flaky texture. Coming from South Asia and resembling an artichoke, it will please your customers’ palates if they fancy a fish-free dish. JJ’s Vish & Chips – a chip shop with numerous vegan choices – is well-known for its banana blossom-based fish, scampi and calamari. Similarily, Sutton and Sons uses banana blossom marinated in seaweed and samphire to add that extra iodine taste to their vegan offerings. Almost like the real deal, but plant-based! So don’t miss the boat, explore banana blossom as another fish-free option to delight your customers.
Jackfruit in the spotlight
And here comes another versatile South Asian fruit – Jackfruit, belonging to the same family as figs and mulberries. Now, jackfruit is often used in fake-meat dishes such as vegan pulled pork. But don’t rule it out, as it has serious potential. Falmouth-based Harbour Lights was the first chip shop in the UK to offer a vegan burger made of jackfruit to replace their traditional fish fillet. Fancy a bit of fish free twist? Shred it and turn it into a vegan alternative in your fish and chips, pies, fish cakes and scampi. The flaky texture of jackfruit will once again surprise your customers – especially the ones who are not fully vegan yet but keen to try it out.
Celeriac to impress with local products
If jackfruit and banana blossom seem a bit too exotic and perhaps don’t match your sustainable standards of choosing local products, consider celeriac. Here’s another fish and chips food trend! This root vegetable has a strong earthy taste and a rather velvety texture once cooked – similarily to turnips. Once used in marinades (e.g. with seaweed for the fishy note), celeriac can be a good vegan choice for your chippy, allowing you to stick to local products and remain sustainable! Holy Cow, a fully vegan restaurant based in Edinburgh, offers a celeriac-based patty wrapped in seaweed and then fried to WOW their curious customer base. Fancy a try? How about some celeriac-based vish fingers? However, be mindful that celeriac is one of the 14 allergens, so ensure your staff are aware and trained when dealing with customers with potential allergies. And make sure it’s displayed on your menus to protect your brand and please your EHO at their next visit!
From left to right: JJ’s Vish and Chips, Harbour Lights’ Jackfruit Fillet Burger, Sutton and Sons’ Vegan Scampi bites.
4. Sides revisited by Fish and Chips - Fritters & Halloumi
Mushy pea fritters
Everyone loves mushy peas with their chippy tea! But some fish and chip shops chefs have decided to turn them into something else to attract new generations of customers – the up and coming mushy pea fritters! Packed into a ball and then deep fried, these fritters are being increasingly seen on chip shop menus! And if you want more originality, try them out with new flavours like these mouth-watering Wasabi pea fritters launched by a 24-year old chef taking over a family’s business in Nottingham. A nice Japan-inspired touch to his revisited mushy peas. What extra flavour or spice would you try?
Skip potatoes, go for halloumi fries
This is perhaps less of a “new” trend. Yet, it’s very trendy on several chippy menus: halloumi! Some like to say halloumi fries are the new cheesy fries. Once beer-battered and fried, these halloumi chips are a nice alternative for your customers to try. Once again be careful with your fryers and ensure you use a separate fryer as dairy contaminants could end up on other fried foods and chips made for dairy-free clients.
5. Gourmet Fish and Chips food trends
Let’s now move to the higher end of fish and chip shops and explore fish and chips food trends – with a gourmet touch. We have seen some gourmet chip shops expanding their business to more food offerings around seafood, like champagne & oysters. But there’s more – and we’re heading north to Scotland this time. Six by Nico’s has released a gourmet fish and chip menu to send your tastebuds to new levels. How so? Classic scampi is given a fancy makeover with scrabster monkfish cheek, topped with a dill emulsion, gribiche, peas (ah – never forget them!) and beurre blanc. Then, the course continues with a steak pie twisted with burnt onion ketchup for a smokier taste, mushrooms and a lovely meat salsa. And in case you thought you’d be full by this point, the actual chippy dinner comes after with Shetland cod, pickled mussels, confit fennel and samphire. The “beer batter” is represented with a beer emulsion, accompanying more meaty delicassies. So whether it’s about oysters, champagne, gourmet fish or beer batter emulsion, the canvas is wide open for new tasty gourmet takes on fish and chips.
6. Grand Finale... The Weird & Wonderful of 2020-2021
Speaking of the culinary canvas being wide open for fish and chips twists… you might be surprised by the latest trends we found in the market:
Activated charcoal buns for some obscure and tasty looks – inspired by chippy Unity Diner. Charcoal is also known for healthy properties such as lowering cholesterol and helping with hangovers. How about a weekend anti-hangover fish fillet charcoal burger… anyone?
Deep fried Colin The Caterpillar
Battered and deep fried Colin the Caterpillar – probably one of the best show stoppers you could find in a chippy! You can thank Papa’s Fish and Chips for the idea. The initiative was actually to help raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. It certainly got us intrigued…
Masala Fish & Chips
Masala Fish and Chips by Huddersfield-based KeSam Chippy! Just enough to twist our iconic dish with a spicy secret. The chef uses a sweetened masala sauce and fresh chillies on the fish, accompanying the exotic dish with spicy fries. It’s getting hot!
Vodka batter for crispier fish by Charcoal Fish – a gentle turn to swap the beer with a stronger alcohol. Keep in mind the costs associated may be higher than with traditional beer batter though!
7. How to keep safe with the latest food trends?
Let’s be honest, there’s a lot on the plate for chefs and chippy owners. From tofu, nori seaweed marinade, celeriac, masala spices, sesame oil and halloumi – a lot of attention to safety is required to keep your premises safe. Yet, showing a wider range of options to please different diets and tastes is also key for your business to thrive with the next generations of consumers. So, if someones asks for your celeriac fish fillet in a gluten-free charcoal bun with no sesame seeds and halloumi fries – don’t panic! Here are a few of our tips:
Brush up on your Allergen Management knowledge
To start with, traditional fish and chips is already a dish packed with allergens. Dairy, egg, fish, gluten and more. So when it comes to new ingredients, don’t forget to look out for soya, celery and celeriac, nuts, seaweed (with traces of fish) and more. As Natasha’s Law is coming into force this October, ensure any pre-packed food made on site (e.g. sauces in little pots) have all allergens listed in bold or highlighted. Keep your menus up-to-date with all necessary allergen info and double check your staff are trained enough.
Dedicated preparation areas
This might come across as obvious but make sure dedicated counters and fryers are reserved for specific ingredients. Use separate fryers when preparing gluten-free dishes, halloumi fries (dairy!) and seaweed crisps (seafood allergies!). Whilst you might be used to the traditional recommended frying oil temperature between 165°C and 191°C, train your chefs and cooks on manufacturers’ recommendations for other foods such as tofu and halloumi, etc. So yes, follow fish and chips food trends but do so, safely!
Switch to digital checklists to save time and for hassle-free food safety
As fish and chips food trends change and your menu gets bigger, stay on the safe side and save yourself some sweat and stress. Ditch all greasy paperwork and grab your tablet or mobile to complete all cleaning and opening/closing checklists within seconds. This will also give you peace of mind that your staff know what to do and are doing it correctly every time. That means more time for you to let your creativity spark and try new alternative recipes! Still thinking about these wasabi mushy pea fritters? We are too, don’t worry!😉