City analysts forecast the future of the food industry – with worrying news for fish and chip aficionados
A city firm of stockbrokers has come up with the most unnerving prediction yet for the 1980s – the decline and fall of the British fish-and-chip shop.
For those with cosmopolitan tastes, the news is just as bad, for according to the stockbrokers Hoare Govett, the Chinese takeaway is going the same way.
Hoare Govett, who have been studying future food-buying trends, forecast that Britain’s food industry will be dominated by the American-style hypermarkets by the end of the decade.
These “super-stores” will offer cut-price fuel and all conceivable goods under one roof, encouraging the motorised consumer and putting the familiar supermarkets out of business.
The stockbrokers have based their forecast on a number of population trends, including a rise in the number of pensioners, babies, and people living on their own.
The fish-and-chip shops and Chinese take-aways will become harder to find, but American style hamburger joints will be dishing out fast food on every corner, they claim.
But they say that the hypermarkets will jump on the band-wagon of fast food service as well as selling goods now provided by the other High Street retailers.
The old-style corner shop may, however, make a comeback, because as more married women go out to work, customers will demand more shops with flexible opening hours. The small independent grocer will pick up a lot of business as a result.
There is likely to be a growth of the American style stores which stay open late into the night and sell a wide range of merchandise.
Hoare Govett forecast that food price inflation will rise from the current level of 13-14 per cent to 17-18 per cent by the middle of this year. A further devaluation of the Green Pound will raise prices by 1 per cent, but reasonably stable commodity prices will offset the higher costs of fuel and wages.