Shortage of turkeys may leave shoppers scratching around

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save

Premium turkeys could be in short supply this Christmas because retailers ordered too few birds earlier this year, producers have warned.

The two leading premium suppliers, Kelly Turkeys and Holly Berry Hatcheries, told The Grocer that supermarkets had misjudged the impact of the recession on consumer spending and that up to 30% fewer premium turkey chicks were hatched this summer in preparation for the Christmas market.

"Early in the year the major retailers dramatically cut their orders for premium fresh turkeys. They are now wondering if they made the right decision," said Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys.

Roger Finney, chairman of Holly Berry Hatcheries, said orders for his slow-growing turkeys were down by between 15% and 20% on last year. "We've ended up throwing quite a lot of eggs away because of a shortage of orders.

"There was a lot of nervousness about the recession and there are people now scrabbling about for birds. There was a worry about being overproduced for the supermarkets for Christmas."

Premium turkeys are typically slow-growing breeds that take up to 28 weeks to reach slaughter weight. They account for up to 15% of the market, said Finney, who predicted consumers would either trade down to a cheaper bird or opt for another meat such as beef or chicken.

Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Marks & Spencer all said they were confident there was enough supply to meet demand.

Have your say

These comments have not been moderated.

You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment.

Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments.

If you wish to complain about a comment please use the “report this comment” facility or email

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save

Grocer jobs Experts in FMCG

Redhill Recruitment Ltd Business Development Manager – Meats

Business Development Manager – Meats - Redhill Recruitment Ltd

Upto £30k Basic + Excellent OTE - Company Car- Laptop & Phone
Search jobs
Sign in

Newsletter Sign-up


I wish to receive the following newsletters:

For Members

Become a Gold Member to receive these newsletters:

Become a Finance Member to receive these newsletters:

Become a member of The Grocer



CLICK HERE to search for the products, services and companies you need in the definitive guide to the UK food and drink industry.


The Grocer's commentators and opinion makers