Fish and Chips. A classic British dish, perhaps the king of classics, much loved by young and old UK wide – it’s part of our national identity. Battered cod or haddock with chunky chips and mushy peas. What could be better on a Friday after a long week at work?

Cod and haddock are favoured in the UK for their availability and the delicate flavour of both fish, meaning they can be enjoyed by young and old or those who prefer lighter tasting fish.

Given the apparent obsession the UK has with these two species, why don’t we utilise other fish? Why are cod and haddock so popular when our own seas contain so many different types of fish?

The UK waters offer a plethora of different fish species which are abundant in number and every bit as tasty as cod and haddock, yet vastly underutilised.

The fish that’s caught in Peterhead, Scotland, such as hake or coley (saithe), are great examples of sustainable species which are available almost all year round and are much cheaper than cod or haddock and can offer a different spin on traditional fish and chips.

Consumers are led, to a certain extent, by the offerings of fish and chip shops. We can only buy what they sell, and if it is not available then how can we buy it? Whilst the demand or interest in other species could be there, it requires a change of buying habits and a change of menus across the fish and chip sector to promote and sell other types of fish. More sustainable fish and alternative flavours.

How do we change people’s perception and demand?

This is the age-old question; how do we make people want to buy what we have to sell? In a word; marketing!

It’s 2018 and all of us have access to social media whether it be for personal or business use. It’s one of the best marketing tools ever created if used correctly. You can market your business, product or anything else to thousands of potential consumers, whether it be via an image, video or text post. The options to reach out to people are limitless and doesn’t have to cost the Earth.

It’s not easy to change buying habits as people can be afraid to try new things, they want what they’ve always wanted or won’t take the risk to pay out for something they’re not sure they’d like – but it is possible.

How can we market different fish?

Marketing a different dish for your menu can be daunting. Will it sell? Will people like it?

Adding value to a dish is a creative task, one designed to make people purchase and consume it. Would that take the form of an image or a well written description on your menu?

An example Marrfish have created is “Trio Fish & Chips”.

Batter three small portions of fish, one which is well known and two new species as a taster menu to allow people to try something new. A mix of cod, coley and hake or haddock, coley and smoked hake, or any combination of light tasting fish. You could mix it up even more and add a stronger tasting fish into the mix such as battered rainbow trout – that’s thinking outside the box right there!

As a nation we are prompted everyday to re-use and recycle plastics and other items with multiple uses. Having said that it makes sense to make the most of the fish in our local waters, stop importing so much other fish and use species that are vastly more sustainable and every bit as tasty as the traditional species of fish we use for fish and chips.

Reinvigorate fish and chips for 2018 and beyond.