Restaurants serving fewer fish meals –

Restaurants serving fewer fish meals Published:  14 November, 2012

THE recession and new competition has led to a fall in the number of fish dishes being served up in restaurants, the organisation Fish2Fork reports.

It says that analysis shows they have served around three million fewer portions of fish in the last 12 months, and it also warns that shoppers are buying less fish in supermarkets. In the year up to June 2012 the number of servings of fish in UK restaurants fell from 449 million to 446 million.

Founded by environmentalist and journalist Charles Clover, Fish2Fork is the campaigning website restaurant guide for people who want to eat fish sustainably.

It  reports that Paul Pendola, client development director at the market research NPD Group, warned a Seafish conference in Birmingham the figures mean restaurants face a dog-eat-dog fight to get more people through their doors.

“At the end of the day we need more people walking into restaurants,” he said. “It’s a real fight for share of servings. The question is quite simple. Where are we going to get more business? We are going to steal it from somebody else. There is no new traffic coming into the system.”

Usually when a recession ends and an economy recovers its strength restaurants have been able to carry on as they did before but he warned it will be different this time because of new competitors. Mr Pendola said: “Over the last 30 years when we’ve seen recession, the economy comes back and lunch and supper go back to normal levels. What’s happening in this case is a dimmer switch effect. When the lights come back on everything is going to look different.”

There was now competition from a new wave of fast casual dining restaurants and food bars, he said.