Dish of the decade enjoys steady start
A year on from gaining special status for Grimsby's traditionally smoked fish after a ten-year administrative battle, the front-runner to the proud group has told how it will be a marathon and not a sprint to reap the rewards.
Richard Enderby is the driving force behind the town's traditional dish receiving the European Union accredited Protected Geographic Indication (PGI).
HERITAGE: Richard Enderby in the midst of the traditional fish smoking process.
And while there is great excitement that Waitrose has now had it on the shelves for the past month, the second generation smoker is keeping his feet, and those of the select band of producers, on the ground.
Mr Enderby said: "We have been told not to expect things overnight.
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But, having said that, Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal do the advertising for Waitrose and if they do get it together and do promote it that way, it really would have an impact. But we have got to accept that would be a bonus and we push on gradually."
Mr Enderby's son Robert is doing the unimaginable when it comes to the forefathers of smoking – spreading the word on the internet – via information site Wikipedia and an AdWords campaign which, in turn, has seen a major uplift in visits to the website of the Grimsby Traditional Fish Smokers' Group, detailing the history, method and pride in the product and process.
Mr Enderby said: "It is gradual, and I think we have all noted success in that we have all picked up the odd customer and that customers we already had are more informed and are really pushing the product themselves, therefore creating extra trade."
But every silver lining has a cloud, and with volumes reduced across the board due to Iceland's return to primary processing as they look to rebuild the economy, supply is difficult.
Mr Enderby said:"The success we have had is counterbalanced by the fact landings are down and fish prices are up – it is back to square one. However, with our smoked fish now being recognised as a premium product, it does help keep the margins up, which is essential as it is such a labour intensive product."
Finally, another issue that has taken a yard of pace out of the PGI promotion, is the Government's axing of regional development agency Yorkshire Forward and the associated food groups.
"We are out there on our own now.
"When it comes to promotion we are sticking to the web as that is relatively inexpensive.
Mr Enderby said:"We can't do anything major, we are only small companies. But we are still getting the message across that it is a quality product and that is the most important thing."