The Changing Chippy Landscape
“When lockdown first landed, fish and chip shops across the country were hit hard. Chippy owners had to introduce new services overnight to continue feeding their local communities such as call & collect, click & collect and home delivery – and for some, this was brand-new territory,” says Isaac Fisher, General Manager at Pukka. “As we have ridden the wave in and out of lockdowns – and even now with the easing of restrictions – it is clear that as a nation, our habits have changed long-term.
“With more people choosing to work from home and spending time in their local area, there are new sales opportunities. To take full advantage of these, our advice to chippy owners is to implement these flexible delivery services indefinitely. And to those who are yet to branch out into the digital world, there is no better time than the present - and you certainly aren’t alone.
“At Pukka, fish and chip shops are our heartland, and the industry remains at the front of our minds – more so now than ever. For example, throughout the pandemic, we ran a campaign where we published personalised social media advertising, targeting chippy owners’ local communities to help them share the news that they were still open for business.
“We repeated the activity multiple times over the year that followed, to keep showing fish and chip shops that Pukka has their backs. In the end, we helped over 50 fish and chip shops get back on their feet, grow their customer numbers and ultimately help increase their takings. Our support for foodservice never stops. In fact, we’ve recently launched a brand-new social media toolkit, designed to help chippy owners make the most of their social media channels and reach new and existing customers. It’s free to download from www.pukkapies.co.uk/foodservice and we urge businesses to take full advantage.”
What To Stock
Fisher says: “We have seen a trend over the past year of fish and chip shops reducing the number of options on their menus, with the overall number of menu items in foodservice down from an average of 73 in 2019, to just 58 a year later . We understand that this hesitancy comes from not wanting to have surplus stock, resulting in excess waste which is every owner’s nightmare. However, this can be overcome by stocking the products that customers want most.
“When looking at savoury pie and pastry offerings, it is important that chippy owners have a range which suits different taste preferences and dietary requirements, so that you have something on offer for everyone. Not only are we the number one pie brand across foodservice – with 30% of people preferring a Pukka from the chippy to any other pie brand – but we deliver all our foodservice pies in boxes of 12 frozen wrapped pies which can be baked straight from the freezer. This makes for longer shelf-lives and easy storage, so chippy owners don’t need to worry about food waste or waiting for products to defrost.
“To successfully capture sales and encourage repeat visits, it is important to offer food that the whole family can enjoy. We have a wide range of pies available to make sure there is a Pukka for everyone, from the traditionalist All Steak, to Chicken Balti for the curry lover. Our Steak & Kidney pie remains our bestselling recipe, followed by Chicken & Mushroom and Minced Beef & Onion – which are absolute must-stocks for chip shops.
“But the demand doesn’t stop there. We have seen huge growth in the number of vegans in the UK, which have increased +350% in the last year , and we wanted to offer chip shop owners the opportunity to cater to this growing trend and drive plant-based sales with products that don’t compromise on taste.”
Make the Most of the Vegan Opportunity
Fisher continues: “With a vision to put more pies on more plates more often, last year we launched a duo of vegan pies complete with the Vegetarian Society Approved Vegan trademark. With this launch, we were able to bring chippy customers the bestselling recipes they know and love, but made with 100% vegan ingredients. Our tasty range currently consists of our Vegan Chicken & Mushroom pie and Vegan Minced Steak & Onion pie.
“The range has had an overwhelmingly positive response since its retail debut, and is already worth over £2 million, so we are confident that they’ll continue to make waves into foodservice. The range is available to these operators wrapped, to allow them to be served in the safest possible way.
“However, some businesses have said they find it challenging to justify stocking vegan options, as customers don’t always know they are available. To overcome this, we advise all chippy owners to really make the most of the POS materials we have available on our website, to catch potential customers walking by. Furthermore, we have some ready-made social media assets available on our foodservice website (www.pukkapies.co.uk/foodservice) to help fish & chip shops spread the word that their customers can enjoy a tasty vegan pie and chips meal. By reaching people in the early stages of their shopper journey or interrupting them as they walk past your shops, you are more likely to influence their decision to visit your chippy for their meal – and ultimately drive sales,” explains Fisher.
“Despite the challenges that the pandemic has thrown the industry’s way, we know that there is still a huge demand for this Great British mealtime favourite, with more people looking closer to home for their food choices. Chip shops can tap into this new sales opportunity by stocking the nation’s favourite pie brand that customers want – whether they are meat eaters, meat-reducers, flexitarians, veggies or vegans. Now, there really is a Pukka for everyone.”
Back on TV
“As we enter the autumn months – which represent a particularly busy sales period for fish & chip shops – we’re thrilled to be bringing our award-winning ‘The People’s Pie’ campaign back. It will be launching nationally across TV and Video on Demand on 13th October and will once again spotlight the Great British Chippy. Alongside our continued social media support, the campaign will help chip shop owners drive sales growth even further amongst people wanting a filling, tasty and convenient meal to enjoy with their friends, family and loved ones in the comfort of their own homes during the cooler months,” Fisher concludes.
1 Lumina Intelligence, Spring/Summer 2020
2 Pukka commissioned research 2019
3 IGD 2020
4 IRI 52 we 16.05.21