Paul Kelly finds “upsides” after a turbulent decade for the turkey sector

Poultrynews invited industry leaders to share their Christmas/New Year highs and lows from 2016, while also expressing a poultry sector wish for 2017.  Today’s contribution is from Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys.

PN – What was your poultry sector highlight/low point of 2016?

PK – Turkey has had a turbulent time in the past 10 years and the bankruptcy of Bernard Matthews was a sad day.

But there is an upside. Turkey as a protein is doing great with consumption up, mainly driven by turkey mince sales making big market share gains and substituting beef as a very healthy and great value alternative.

Our own top end Christmas turkey market has done well with our sales up 3% – but it could be more if it too many independent butchers weren’t taking advantage of the high margins to be made selling Italian and Polish ‘butterflies’.

Yet the major retailers are great supporters of British turkey.

PN – What do you most hope will be achieved by UK poultry / turkey producers in 2017?

PK – For Bernard Matthews under the 2Sisters umbrella to become a viable and profitable business again to ensure we in the UK can supply retailers’ needs with fresh turkey weekly and the volume required at Christmas

PN – What one poultry industry experience did you enjoy most in 2016?

PK – Filming all year for a television programme to be screened next autumn as well as getting a USDA licence in our new farm and facility in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

PN – Free poultry / turkey sector comment – something you feel strongly about.

PK – If we have a ‘hard’ Brexit we will not be in business without our Polish team that’s been with us for 12 years.

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