The survival of the UK turkey industry depends on year-round demand for the product, said the head of a company that rescued Britain’s second biggest producer from receivership.
Andrew Lewins, joint MD of Cranberry Foods, which bought turkey producer Brandons in September last year, said that he was feeling confident about his company’s future.
“The turkey industry in the UK has gone through an awful lot of pain over the past five or 10 years, not least over the Brandons receivership,” he said.
“If the UK wants a turkey industry for Christmas it has to support the thing all-year-round.”
Cranberry Foods, of Scropton in Derbyshire, supplies 100% of Asda’s fresh turkey and also provides raw turkey steaks and diced turkey to Somerfield, Safeway, Morrisons and the Co-op. Some Cranberry Foods-branded whole frozen turkeys will appear as promotional lines this Christmas.
However, the trend, said Lewins, was increasingly for crowns rather than for whole birds, which attracted competition from cheaper foreign imports.
“We couldn’t compete with Brazil if price were the only buying decision,” admitted Lewins. “But we have had good support from our customers for our whole turkey model.”
Lewins said he was optimistic about the prospects for turkey consumption. “Turkey is one of the 14 super-foods, being very low in fat, and there is a good health story there.”