Seafood & Sustainability - can alternatives and more sustainable environment?


As it currently stands, there are an estimated 10,500 fish and chips shops in the UK, proving just how popular the traditional British cuisine really is.

Whilst it may not be the top of everybody’s list, coming behind Chinese, Indian and then pizza as the most popular takeaways, the classic ‘chippy tea’ is deemed the least risky of all.

In 2019, almost one in five Brits said they visited their local chippy once a week, and a third said that they treated themselves to a fish and chip shop takeaway once a month, proving its popularity. And more recently, almost one in five people ordered fish and chips the night before all UK lockdown restrictions came to an end.

After more than 18 months of uncertainty, consumers continue to seek consistency and familiarity, as well as a meal that is nothing short of satisfactory – which is exactly what they get when they head down to their local fish and chip shop.

But here, Kirsty Jones, environmental health expert at Navitas Safety, discusses the sustainability of fish and chip shops and whether or not offering seafood alternatives will help to serve up a safer and ‘greener’ environment.

The sustainable truth, no sea-crets

With food consumers becoming more concerned about where their food is from and whether it is sustainable and ethical, this of course poses the question of just how sustainable our favourite takeaways, such as fish and chip shops, really are.

Sustainability is something that has been on people’s minds, but even more so since the beginning of the pandemic, with 60% of people reporting that they have been making more ethical and eco-friendly purchasing decisions ever since.

Both consumers and business owners alike are becoming more apprehensive about not just what they eat, but the way in which the food is produced, or in the case of a fish and chip shop, how a fish is caught.

Films and documentaries have only accelerated this, and Netflix’s Seaspiracy shocked the world with some devastating statistics, causing people to ponder over sustainable fishing and the effects of commercial fishing.

Sustainable fishing is the act of catching or farming fish and other seafood in such a way that considers the future and longevity of each species. This consists of leaving enough fish in the ocean to ensure the replenishment of the population.

The Frozen at Sea Fillets Association represents fisheries in the North Atlantic and explains that 90% of UK fish and chip shops use produce from sustainable fisheries. And the best way for consumers to seek sustainably sourced seafood is to look out for the Marine Stewardship Council’s logo and blue tick.

With that in mind, now is the perfect time for businesses to up their game within the realms of sustainability so that our favourite seaside snacks can be enjoyed without damaging the environment, whilst keeping our consciousness clean and free from guilt.

Alternative offerings and making changes

One business owner was so shocked by the impact of pollution on our oceans that he closed his very own fish and chip shop and focused on offering vegetarian and plant-based alternatives on a full-time basis.

Foods such as halloumi and vegetables are a much more sustainable food source, and as we move further into 2021, is now the time for businesses to be considering making the switch, or at the very least, offering vegan and vegetarian alternatives? We think so.

However, it isn’t just the food that can negatively impact the environment. The way in which businesses choose to work plays a huge part in this, too.

Paper-based processes, food waste, as well as energy usage, are all huge contributors to an increased carbon footprint.

If all 10,500 fish and chip shops throughout the UK used a one-page paper safety checklist every day, then annually, they are wasting a collective 3.83 million pieces of paper. If that isn’t significant enough, for this alone, this would use almost 480 trees to do so.

With this in mind, business owners should be seeking to switch to more digital processes to become more of a sustainable business for ever more demanding customers.

Taking the plunge

By opting for digital food safety processes, hospitality businesses will have everything they need in one place: a digital, interactive dashboard - accessible from tablet or mobile. This will save hours of manual work, lower labour costs, reduce food waste, optimise fridges temperatures and generate energy efficiencies - an all-encompassing tool to become more efficient overall.

Our digital food safety kit could save a business that has nine fridges and freezers for example, a monthly average of 20 hours of work, £300 of labour costs, and more than four hours of manual work.

Online food safety training and utilising digital technology such as a Smart Probe and Smart Pods can help a business to become more efficient thanks to automated temperature monitoring, ensuring that they are providing a service to the highest of standards.

Not only that, but digital food safety technology can help businesses to avoid cross-contamination thanks to greater allergen traceability. This allows them then to offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan alternatives which will, in turn, boost their sustainability efforts.

As well as this, by using technology within food safety, businesses will be able to ensure that they are correctly and sustainably disposing of cooking oils, as well helping them to reduce waste with optimised temperatures - never losing stock again!

Navitas Safety is a key safety partner within the food and hospitality industries, as well as in the fish and chip shop industry. Working with restaurants, as well as suppliers, delivery and takeaway businesses, the digital food safety specialists provide its clients with a complete digital food safety net.

To find out more, please visit our new fish and chip website and blog on more sustainability tips.

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