Almost half of this year’s ‘Oscars of the fish and chip industry’ have been won by chippies that serve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified, sustainable fish and chips to their customers. Simpsons Fish & Chips in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire was named Britain’s best chippie, after beating nine other regional finalists to be crowned Independent Takeaway Fish & Chip Shop of the Year. The family-run business, which has been MSC certified since 2013, was recognised for innovations such as a gluten-free frying day held once a month and a children’s book that aims to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable sourcing.
Runner-up for the top award was Kingfisher Fish & Chips, in Plymouth, Devon, which also netted the Good Catch Award in recognition of the work it has done to champion sustainable sourcing. Previously hailed as “the world’s most sustainable fish and chip shop”, Kingfisher sells an impressive 13 MSC certified fish species, including cod and haddock from the Arctic sea, pollock, salmon and kippers, plus whole lobsters that are sold with chips for under £10.
Runners-up for the Good Catch Award were Olley’s Fish Experience in Herne Hill, London and fellow Plymouth chippie, Harbourside Fish and Chips, which scooped the Healthiest Fish & Chips Award for its smaller portions, calorie information and other initiatives to promote healthier fish suppers.
The Catch in Looe Harbour, which opened in 2014 and became MSC certified in 2015, won the Best Newcomer Award, while Burton Road Chippy in Lincoln netted both the Marketing Innovation Award and the NFFF Quality Award ‘Champion’ Award, for attaining and exceeding the National Federation of Fish Friers’ (NFFF) quality benchmark and promoting it to consumers and the industry.
A further four regional finalists in the Takeaway Fish & Chip Shop of the Year category were MSC certified, including Cromars in St Andrews, which was named best fish & chip shop in Scotland; The Dolphin Takeaway in Dungannon, crowned best chippie in Northern Ireland; Hodgsons Chippy in Lancaster, named best fish & chip shop in North West England; and Mister C’s in Selby, best chippie in North East England.
George Clark, UK Commercial Manager for the Marine Stewardship Council said, “We’re delighted that for the fourth year running, the top industry award for the fish and chip sector has been won by an MSC certified chippy that champions and promotes sustainable seafood. That’s great news for the future of our oceans and for the future of the nation’s favourite takeaway, and we’d like to congratulate all the award winners on their much-deserved success.”
The MSC is the world’s most recognised certification and ecolabelling scheme for sustainable seafood. Its ‘blue tick’ ecolabel gives shoppers and diners an independent assurance that their fish was sourced sustainably, and is traceable from ocean to plate.
The Good Catch Award was jointly sponsored by the MSC and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and aims to reward fish and chip shops committed to sustainable sourcing, and encourage diners to choose fish from sustainable sources.