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    ‘Brits swapping sushi for sandwich meal deals’

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    Britons are swapping sushi for sandwiches as the soaring cost of fish makes it pricier for many consumers, according to a leading supplier of supermarket lunch meal deals.

    Dalton Philips, chief executive of Greencore, which supplies packaged convenience food to stores including Marks & Spencer, said the rising cost of fish had made many sushi products prohibitively pricey.

    “The price is now at such a high level because of inflationary factors. It’s moved into a price point that’s less accessible. It’s the cost of production of fish. Some of it is farmed, some of it is wild, but either way, there’s been huge increases in that supply chain,” The Telegraph quoted Philips as saying.

    Meanwhile, the number of sandwiches sold by the company has risen by 3.5 per cent in the year to October compared with a year earlier.

    Philips added the decline in demand for sushi was compounded by shoppers returning to chains such as Yo Sushi! that have reopened since the end of the pandemic.

    “There were a lot of specialty sushi providers that closed during COVID, and so the supermarkets took a disproportionate amount of share. What’s happening now is the branded sushi providers that you see on high street, they’re all back and open again.”

    Meanwhile, the cost of living crisis is prompting office workers to switch from meals to supermarket meal deals and sandwiches.

    “Over 52 per cent of all sandwiches sold are sold as a meal deal. A meal deal is approximately £3.50 for a sandwich, drink and a snack. And so relative to [fast food] it’s almost half the price.”

    Greencore is Britain’s biggest sandwich maker and also supplies Boots, Aldi and Lidl. It produces 779 million sandwiches and other food to go products every year, including around 25 million packs of sushi and 132 million chilled ready meals. It employs 13,600 people across 16 factories in the UK.

    Philips said the company had faced an additional £200m in costs over the last year, but had offset this by raising prices.

    Sales at Greencore rose by 10 per cent to £1.9bn over the year to September 29, with pre-tax profits rising 13.6 per cent to £45.2m, the company said on Tuesday (28). The company said an increase in the number of workers returning to the office full time had boosted sandwich sales.

    Philips said, “You’ve got a lot more mobility on the high street. The amount of people now working five days a week in the office has surpassed the amount of people who are working in hybrid.”

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