Growers warned off taking short-term cash gains

Turkey producers have been urged to think again before cashing-in on a few left-over birds, being warned that the cost to their business of supplying local wholesale markets and auctions at spot prices could prove expensive in the long term.

The warning comes from Kelly Turkeys’ managing director, Paul Kelly, who said that local markets are normally used as dumping grounds for unsold turkeys, operating at very low prices and undermining the industry’s core market.

“The attraction of realising cash on a few left-over turkeys, at whatever cost, can be very expensive in the long term if your local customers realise they can go to the auction or market to buy your turkeys at discounted prices rather than buying direct from you,” he said.

Mr Kelly also questioned whether or not the major supermarkets are currently providing such a wide range of product choice that consumers are being left confused and end up buying fewer whole birds.

“The number of different variants of turkey and turkey joints available in supermarkets is quite simply staggering,” he said, adding that he spent fully 45 minutes last December digesting all the different offers available from one of the biggest supermarkets.

“The major retailers are now making it hard for the consumer to choose and when they finally do they are worried they made the wrong choice,” he said.

Mr Kelly is still optimistic about the future, however, commenting that collecting a turkey from the local farm or butcher has tremendous perceived value.

“The competition for a slice of the nation’s disposable incomes is fierce, but food will always do well as it is a no option purchase,” he said. “Christmas dinner is a very indulgent meal and one where people will continue to treat themselves.”

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