Sales of fresh turkey rose 2.2% to £74.5m in the four week period to January 2, compared with the same period a year earlier [TNS].
Supplier Bernard Matthews said its volume sales rose 19% to 2.74 million birds over the Christmas period.
Kim Burgess, group brand manager at Bernard Matthews and publicity chairman at the British Turkey Sector Group, said: “The growing availability of ready-prepared turkey joints suitable for Christmas roasts is encouraging smaller family units to stick with turkey rather than decide to cook a smaller alternative such as beef or chicken. Our members all reported excellent sales over Christmas.”
Domestic producers claimed that 90% of turkeys bought at Christmas were British. Industry leaders said supermarkets requested increased orders in the run up to the festive season, and prices stayed firm with stores reported to have withheld from a price war.
Burgess said: “Our focus is now on encouraging consumers and retailers to treat British turkey as a year-round meat.”
A total of 10 million turkeys are produced specifically for the Christmas table. Another half million are traditionally eaten at Easter.