• Are fish and chips sustainable with climate change: What affects may this have on the British diet?

      Burek, Cynthia V.; Haywood, Elizabeth (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2008)
      There is increasing evidence that the world’s climate is changing. Many studies have looked into the economic and environmental consequences of this but fewer have researched the health impacts, in particular the effects climate change may have on our diet. This study aims to assess how climate change may affect the availability of a traditional British dish, “fish and chips”, and how this may affect the British diet in the future. A literature review was carried out to collate information on how the environment is likely to change and how this will affect fish and chip availability and production. A questionaire was designed and distributed to 140 participants from different age groups in order to identify how climate change is likely to affect the diets’ of different demographic groups of the UK population. The findings suggest that it is very likely that the potato crop will become commercially unviable in many parts of the UK, particularly the southeast, because of reduced yield due to drought stress and increases in extreme summer temperatures. With the increasing pressures of climate change, already over-exploited cod and haddock stocks are likely to have significantly reduced by the 2080s. It is likely that fisheries will develop to catch new warmer-water species, such as red mullet. The survey revealed that fish and chips as a dish and as individual food items are eaten widely across all demographic groups sampled in this study. Cod was the most commonly consumed white fish and potatoes were the most commonly consumed staple. Older age groups are likely to be most affected if “traditional” fish and chips are no longer available, and pasta dishes are the most likely alternative to potatoes. This study indicates that the British diet is likely to be significantly affected by climate change and the era of “fish and chips” may one day come to an end. Further research needs to be carried out to assess the effects of climate change on other foods and how it might affect the health of the British public.