Belfast Telegraph

Price of an Ulster fry has risen 22% in the last 10 years

Reporter Emma Deighan tries an Ulster fry in Benny’s
Reporter Emma Deighan tries an Ulster fry in Benny’s
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

It is a favourite at breakfast tables across Northern Ireland - but the price of an Ulster fry is on the rise again.

The cost of a traditional cooked breakfast increased by nearly 3% in the last year, making it 22% more expensive than a decade ago.

According to the Ulster Bank Fry Index, one of the main factors in driving up the cost was the price of butter, which jumped in price by almost 8%.

Bacon and sausages were also among the biggest risers, both up 3.8%, while bread saw a price increase of 3.9%.

In total the price of items making up a cooked breakfast increased by 2.8% in the last 12 months, based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

Brendan Bowman, the third generation owner of Benny's Cafe on Short Street in the Sailortown area of Belfast, noted the rising cost of the components of the humble fry.

He said: "Everything has gone up in price except mushrooms and eggs and while we have been absorbing the costs, with a combination of other price pressures, including rates and the rise of minimum wage, we will be looking at increasing our prices soon." Benny's has three Ulster Fry options on its menu; the Early Bird Special, All Day Fry and Benny's Belly Buster priced at £3.75, £4.95 and £5.95 respectively. And Mr Bowman says the popularity of the signature dish has yet to dwindle since he began running the 45-year-old establishment in 1993.

"We've seen our customers change over the years. We've had mill workers, dockers and now office workers as well as local residents come through the doors and for us the popularity of our All Day Fry still remains the same as it's ever been."

This is the second year running that the rate of Ulster fry inflation has been 2.8% - the highest rates of annual Ulster fry inflation in the past five years. Prior to this, consumers had been benefiting from falling prices - the Ulster Fry Index fell by 9% in 2016 and 3% in 2015.

It wasn't all bad news, as some items fell in price, including tomatoes, eggs and margarine.

And healthy eaters will welcome the news that the price of avocados fell by 1.9% in the past 12 months.

Jenny Curran, who opened her own healthy eating restaurant Tony and Jen's on the Lisburn Road in 2015 with her partner Tony O'Neill, has been championing an alternative Ulster fry for those who want the dish without the nutritional guilt.

She says the drop in the price of an avocado is "music to my ears".

"It is so popular and we use avocado with pretty much everything so that is good news," she said.

Ulster Bank's chief economist Richard Ramsey says that while the Ulster Fry Index is a bit of fun, it contains an important economic message.

He said: "Understanding how the price of food items is changing gives us some insight into the current state of consumer finances."

Belfast Telegraph