UK: Price hike on imported turkey boosts home-grown demand

23-10-2019 | | |
Photo: Kelly Turkeys
Photo: Kelly Turkeys

Higher prices for imported ‘butterfly’ cuts of turkey will create more demand for whole birds in the UK’s seasonal market, according to leading producer Paul Kelly.

Traditional turkey producers in the UK have, for some years, been undercut by cheaper imported turkeys from Europe, notably Italy.

But with prices up 30% this season Kelly, who is managing director of Kelly Turkeys, says shoppers will be tempted to switch back to British whole birds.

Lower hatch rate due to heat

A hot summer in continental Europe reduced the number of birds hatched, creating a shortage for the seasonal market.

Switching customers to a whole turkey may be easier this year and is undoubtedly the best long-term solution for the specialist independent retailer. To remind you – our own retail sales from the farm shop are 72% whole bird, 14% crown and 14% breast joints,” – Paul Kelly, Kelly Turkeys.

The Kelly’s will raise prices by 1.5% this year, in line with cost rises.

Wheat: Oversupplied domestic market due to Brexit

Brexit has kept feed prices down. With the prospect of large tariffs on wheat for export, UK wheat has become uncompetitive and grain that would normally be shipped abroad is creating an oversupplied domestic market.

Higher labour costs

However, labour costs have risen substantially as a result of the higher minimum living wage and weak pound. “This means we have to pay more to attract our seasonal workforce,” adds Paul Kelly.

Jake Davies Freelance Journalist