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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Teatime staple marks half century
Fish fingers advertisement
In total 15 billion fish fingers have been sold since 1955
British teatime staple the Fish Finger is celebrating 50 years since first going on sale.

After five decades on shop shelves, 114 packets are still thought to be sold every minute in a supermarket somewhere in the UK.

Traditionally made from cod and coated in breadcrumbs, the dish is also made from haddock and pollock as North Sea cod supplies continue to fall.

Fish Finger inventor Clarence Birdseye launched them in 1955 priced 1s 8d.

The US-born scientist pioneered frozen food in the 1930s with his plate froster, the first quick freezer.

Captain Birds Eye
In 1971 an obituary for Captain Birds Eye appeared in the Times newspaper after it was decided to retire him. But retirement was temporary and he returned in 1974
John Hewer played the captain between 1967 and 1998, when he was retired, aged 76, for 30-something Thomas Pescod
In 1974 a rise in inflation and the Cod Wars saw fish finger sales plateau for the first time
A poll in 1993 named Captain Birds Eye as the most recognised captain after Captain Cook

In the tester stage, food firm Birds Eye tried both herring and cod on shoppers in Southampton and south Wales - cod was preferred.

The seafood snack was nearly launched as Battered Cod Pieces until a poll of Birds Eye workers opted for the snappier Fish Fingers.

In its first year, 600 tons of fish fingers were eaten, with 15 billion sold to date and more than one million eaten by Britons every day.

And while they may be thought of as children's food, two-thirds are eaten by adults.

It was not until 1967 that Captain Birds Eye first appeared in advertisements for fish fingers.

The jovial navy man - who has been played by three people - has outlasted the likes of the Milky Bar Kid and Ronald McDonald to become one of the longest running "brand personality" since food advertising began.

Minister 'sorry' for cod blunder
11 Jan 05 |  Cornwall
UK rejects North Sea fishing plan
16 Dec 04 |  Science/Nature

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