Latest News

Quick guide to serving fish in your mobile catering van UK | Benefits, tips, and recipes

Stuffed full of vitamins and minerals, and a major source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fish has long been popular as a superfood among discerning customers. But not only can it help to protect against a range of diseases, from cancer to heart disease, depression to arthritis. It can also do wonders for your mobile catering business. Read our quick guide to serving fish in your mobile catering van and reap the rewards.

Serving fish brings a lot of benefits to you and your customers. However, there can be risks too which need to be protected against. Alongside staff training in food safety, you’ll also want the most appropriate insurance cover. At Mobilers we understand the unique challenges facing a catering business - like finding just the right insurance cover for you. Our team has been arranging caterers’ insurance for more than 20 years. From catering public liability insurance to cover for your mobile catering van, we’ll get you sorted in record time!

Cutting Fish

5 reasons why serving fish is a great idea

Gone are the days when food prepared and served from a van was regarded as unhealthy and high in calories. Mobile catering businesses who’ve tapped into healthy options such as salad bowls or vegan burgers, are now a common sight up and down the country. Adding fish to your menu could be a healthy and delicious addition to your foodie spot.

So, why would adding fish to your food truck menu be a winner among customers? Let’s count the ways!

  1. It can help to fight heart disease

There’s little better advertising for fish than the health benefits. The Food Standards Agency says we’re not eating enough fish. It recommends we all eat at least two portions of fish a week, of which one should be oily fish.

Meanwhile the British Heart Foundation says eating oily fish not only reduces the risk of heart disease but might even improve your chances of survival following a heart attack. Although the impact of eating oily fish may be only minimal, it’s still worth the effort!

Eating more fish can also help you to cut down on unhealthy levels of red and processed meat. While the move towards a more traditional Mediterranean-style diet has been linked to a lower risk of heart and circulatory diseases. Using fish along with beans and lentils as valuable sources of protein can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol.

  1. It could provide a great boost for brain health

It’s a fact of life that as we age, our brain function can decline. But while mild mental decline is to be expected, other more serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s also exist. It’s believed that eating fish and the Omega-3 it contains could provide some protection against this.

However, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, studies looking at the link have produced mixed results. For example, one study found that eating fish twice a week could reduce dementia risk by 41% compared to eating fish once a month. However, another study found there was no change in dementia risk depending on the quantity of fish consumed.

  1. It has cancer-fighting properties

Again and again, research has shown over the years that people eating a moderate amount of seafood have a lower risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. For example, a very large study was funded by the World Cancer Research Fund looking at nearly 500,000 people. It concluded that those who ate at least three portions of fish a week had less chance of bowel cancer.

While a large study of over 6,000 Swedish male twins over a 30-year period showed those who ate moderate to high amounts of fatty fish were two-to-three times less likely to develop prostate cancer, compared to those who didn’t. The study also noted that as well as the fatty acids, fish are a rich source of vitamins and selenium. Selenium is a mineral believed to have antioxidant effects, preventing the oxidation of cells in the progression of cancer.

  1. It can be great for our mental health

Research has also suggested that eating fish is linked to a 17% reduction in the risk of depression. Again, a potential reason for this is because of those wonderful Omega-3 fatty acids. These findings support mental health charity Mind’s conclusion that what we eat not only affects our physical health but also the way we feel. Take a look through Mind’s tips on the link between food and mood and see if there’s anything you could incorporate into your mobile catering menu. After all, happy customers will always come back for more!

  1. It lets you demonstrate your sustainability

Concern about our impact on the environment and big increases in the numbers of people moving towards vegan and vegetarian diets means that sustainability is a big part of any modern food business. For some food ideas for vegan customers, check out our ultimate guide to vegan mobile catering on our blog.

Your customers want more environmentally-friendly meals and are demanding their fish be sustainably sourced. Serving sustainable fish on your menu is a good way to show you care.

Fish and shellfish food safety tips

Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy balanced diet. However, serving fish or shellfish that’s not fresh or has been improperly stored or prepared can cause big problems.

Shellfish like mussels and oysters can contain harmful viruses and bacteria that can lead to serious food poisoning. Although thorough cooking usually reduces this risk. However, you still need to be particularly careful when buying, storing and serving shellfish.

Fish and shellfish can also contain toxins which don’t break down during cooking. Depending on the type of toxin present, the symptoms from eating contaminated food may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Numbness
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Disorientation
  • Abdominal pain

The NHS also advises that older people, pregnant women, very young children and those who are unwell should steer clear of raw or lightly cooked shellfish.

Not only are these viruses, bacteria and toxins potentially very harmful to customers, but also disastrous to your business. That’s why you need catering public liability insurance in place.

Follow these top tips on how to store and prepare fish and shellfish and protect both customers and your business from harm.

When buying fish and shellfish

  • Buy fish and shellfish from reputable and preferably sustainable sources.
  • Fresh fish or shellfish should be refrigerated or displayed on ice. If displayed then it should be kept inside a case or beneath a cover.
  • Never buy cooked or ready-to-eat fish or shellfish that’s touching raw fish or shellfish.
  • Colour alone is not an indicator of freshness. This can be affected by various factors including diet, environment, or packaging processes.
  • It should smell fresh and mild, not fishy, sour, or ammonia-like – even if previously frozen.
  • Fish eyes should be clear and shiny.
  • The flesh should be firm and the gills should be red.
  • There should be no discoloration, darkening, or drying around the edges of fish fillets.
  • The flesh of uncooked prawns, scallops, and lobster should be clear with a pearl-like colour.
  • Check that the fish has not thawed during transportation.
  • Don't buy frozen seafood if its packaging has been opened or is damaged.
  • Avoid packages where the frozen flesh isn’t hard. The fish should not be bendy!
  • If the shells of clams, oysters, and mussels are cracked or broken then throw them away.
  • Tap clams, oysters, and mussels to check that they’re still alive. The shell should close when tapped. If they don't then they’re dead and should be discarded.

Cooking fish

When storing fish and shellfish

  • Put fish and shellfish on ice or in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible.
  • Put all fish and shellfish in covered containers. Live shellfish should not be put into airtight containers, because they need to breathe.
  • Never store fish or shellfish in water.
  • Store raw fish and shellfish separately from cooked products.

When preparing fish and shellfish

  • Avoiding cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods is your number one priority.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling any raw food.
  • Never allow raw fish or shellfish or fluid to come into contact with cooked or ready-to-eat food.
  • Use separate chopping boards, plates and utensils for preparing raw fish and shellfish and other food.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and worktops thoroughly with soap and hot water after preparing raw foods.
  • Thaw frozen fish or shellfish gradually in the fridge overnight. If you need to thaw it more quickly, then you have two options. The first option is to seal it in a plastic bag and submerge it in cold water (change the water every 30 mins). The second option, if the food is to be cooked immediately, is to use the defrost setting on your microwave. Always stop the defrost cycle when the food is still icy, but flexible.
  • Always follow the correct storage and cooking instructions for shellfish such as mussels, clams and oysters. Remember fresh seafood has to be exactly that! Seafood fans will be able to tell if your shellfish isn’t absolutely fresh, and will vote with their feet based on the quality.
  • If you're marinating, put it in the fridge and throw the marinade away after removing the raw fish or shellfish. If you want to use the marinade as a dip or sauce, set some aside beforehand.

Allergies to fish or shellfish are quite common. These can cause severe reactions in affected customers. Keep such ingredients separate from other foods and wash your hands thoroughly after touching them. Be aware that people who are allergic to one type of fish or shellfish often react to other types, too. Also, cooking the food doesn't make an allergic reaction less likely to happen. Read our recent article on allergy advice for mobile caterers for more information. 

When it comes to food safety, having the right training in place for your staff is vital. Whether hiring the right chef or arranging the most appropriate catering public liability insurance, it’s always best to speak to the professionals first. Mobilers has many years of experience providing great cover for a range of catering businesses.

Top tips for fantastic fish

Fish served as a street food has a history dating all the way back to ancient Greece. But if you’re wanting to become part of this fine street food tradition here are some top tips to bear in mind.

  • Keep an eye on what’s popular - Fish and chips, long regarded as one of the nation’s favourite takeaway options is a perennial favourite that will always draw in the crowds.
  • Look beyond the top five – Yes, salmon, tuna, cod, haddock and prawns are easily the most popular seafood species. But that doesn’t mean customers aren’t interested in trying new things including squid, pollock and brill. Focusing on more than the main species means your food will be more sustainable.
  • Know your suppliers – Getting the best fish and seafood possible at the best price relies on you having a good relationship with your fishmonger. Building such connections is key to success.
  • Keep things simple, but with a twist – There are lots of ways to add fish to your menu without making things overly complicated. For example, adding a warming fish curry or spicy fish tacos just requires a little tweak.
  • Don’t be frightened of innovation – Fusion sandwiches, like seafood hot dogs and Korean BBQ burritos may be the next big thing. Get ahead of the competition now!
  • Think seasonal – To get the best quality and price you’ll want to be knowledgeable about what’s in season and when.
  • Reducing waste – Using the whole fish is a great way to be sustainable and show creativity in the kitchen. For example, use bones for stock, trimmings for fishcakes, and even skin can be made into crisps.

Catering public liability insurance from Mobilers

Take out catering public liability insurance through Mobilers and you could enjoy policy benefits such as:

  • Immediate cover and quotations
  • Documents emailed or sent out immediately
  • Short period policies available on request

Get a quote for catering liability insurance today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

Frequently asked questions

Can you turn a van into a food truck?

Turning a van into a food truck is not only possible but also an exciting project for food enthusiasts. With some careful planning, a good understanding of health regulations, and a bit of creativity, you can transform your van into a mobile culinary paradise.

A food truck offers the flexibility to set up shop virtually anywhere, serving your delicious creations to folks far and wide. Your van might just be the first step towards launching your very own food truck business.

What catering equipment do I need to run a food truck?

The list of necessary catering equipment includes a cooking range, grills or griddles, deep fryers, refrigeration units, and food prep counters. You'll also need smaller items like utensils, pots, pans, and a payment system. Don't forget about the cleaning equipment to maintain hygiene standards. Having a generator for power backup is also essential. Remember, the right food truck equipment not only helps in smooth operations but also ensures you can deliver delicious food consistently to your customers.

Is Employers Liability a legal requirement for food trucks in the UK?

Employers Liability is a legal requirement for food trucks. This means that any food truck owner or operator must have Employers Liability insurance in place to protect their employees in case of any work-related accidents or injuries. This is essential as food trucks can be a high-risk environment, with potential hazards such as hot surfaces, sharp utensils, and heavy equipment.

Is Public Liability a legal requirement for food trucks?

Public Liability insurance is not a legal requirement for food trucks in the UK, but it is highly recommended. Public Liability insurance provides protection in case of any accidents or injuries that occur as a result of your business operations. For example, if a customer were to slip and fall while visiting your food truck, Public Liability insurance would cover any legal costs or compensation that may be required.

Share this on: