The gap between frozen and fresh turkey has narrowed, as the cost of frozen birds has been harder hit by inflation than fresh ones, research by The Grocer reveals.
Since 2008, the average price of a fresh 5kg-6kg turkey has moved up by just 2% - from £22.47 in December 2008 to £22.95 this year. During the same period, frozen turkey increased by 14%, from an average of £14.89 to £17.
This still leaves frozen birds cheaper than fresh, but the gap between the two has narrowed significantly - back in 2008, shoppers would have had to pay a 51% premium for fresh turkey. This year, a fresh bird costs just 35% (or £5.95) more than its frozen equivalent.
One supplier suggested the different inflation rates on fresh and frozen was primarily down to different retailer pricing strategies, as key input costs were largely the same. “We have not seen anything dramatically different in fresh and frozen that would explain the gap otherwise,” he added.
Although frozen has gone up by more than fresh, increases for all Christmas turkeys are below general inflation - which has risen by 15.4% since 2008 - despite the fact that grain prices have soared.
And inflation is nowhere near the level seen in overall poultry prices, which have moved up by an average of nearly 50% over the past year.
One reason is that prices for festive birds were agreed in early 2012 - before weather-related supply/demand issues took their toll on grains prices.
A Tesco spokesman said its fresh and frozen turkey prices would be the same this year as in 2011: “Any cost increases in feed since then will not be reflected in the prices our customers will pay for their turkey this Christmas.”
Fresh turkey accounts for about two-thirds of Christmas turkey sales.