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Taking a closer look at seafood in the foodservice sector

In the ever-shifting seas of consumer spending, anyone involved in the selling of seafood can thrive from a better understanding of the current trends and market opportunities. Our latest report, ‘Fish and Chips in Foodservice’, looks at the insights we’ve uncovered based on data gathered over two years (to September 2023).

The first step to changing or reacting to buying behaviour is knowing what drives customers. Our report on out-of-home seafood sales combines industry data with consumer surveys to reveal the bigger picture.

The headline news is that, despite declining fish and chip shop sales, overall fish and chip sales across total foodservice are recovering, with 1.1 million more servings in the last two years.   While the cost-of-living crisis has had a dampening impact on the market, post-pandemic recovery continued steadily, slowing only in the most recent quarter (July to September 2023).

The big takeaways

Foodservice equates to almost a third of the volume sales of seafood. Of that, fish and chip meals represent around 20% of all foodservice seafood consumption. In the two years analysed, 337 million servings of fish and chips were sold – a 0.3% increase on the previous two years.

Fish and chips are most popular with older generations

Despite under-50s representing 73% of the out-of-home total of food and drink servings, 59% of all fish and chips servings are to consumers over 50. This skew is more apparent in pubs, where over 72% of fish and chips servings are to over-50s.

75% of fish and chips servings are to adults without children

Fish and chips perform better in adult-only occasions, particularly in pubs and full-service restaurants where over 80% of servings are to adults without children.

Friday and Saturday dinner remain the peak times for fish and chips

Saturdays are now the most popular day for fish and chips, with Fridays a close second. Together, they account for 43% of all fish and chips servings per week.

The cost-of-living crisis is reflected in a shift from out-of-home to in-home

In line with the trading behaviours seen in foodservice, there’s been an increase in purchases of frozen fish and chips products from supermarkets as a cheaper substitute to takeaways. For many people, dining in at home has become the new ‘going out’.

Fish and chip shops suffer as social eating is prioritised

On-premises dining remains important to people for the socialising opportunity it offers, with full-service restaurants seeing an overall traffic growth of 2.5%. Meanwhile, fish and chip shops have seen a significant dip in sales as consumers tighten their purse strings to cope with the cost of living.

Opportunities in fish and chips – the 5 Es
  1. Engage younger consumers to broaden the consumer base.
  2. Expand the buying window by finding ways to make fish and chips relevant throughout the week.
  3. Embrace delivery services and app-based ordering, and explore digital loyalty schemes.
  4. Explore opportunities to diversify with portable snacking options, or expand menus for fish and chip shops.
  5. Emphasise value for money, promoting fish and chips as a delicious, filling and affordable meal option.

In navigating the evolving landscape of the fish and chips market, businesses must be willing to adapt, innovate and strategically target emerging opportunities to ensure sustained success.

Want to dive deeper? Read the full report at


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