Imported ‘butterflies’ growing threat to future of traditional British turkey

A call for butchers to adopt the stance of all major supermarkets in supporting British turkey for 100% of their fresh offer is made by Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys.

In recent years many butchers have begun selling imported turkey ‘butterflies’ which he contends present a serious and growing threat to the whole traditional turkey sector.

I know it’s easy and very profitable but selling imported butterflies is taking a short term view,” said Kelly in his autumn newsletter to the meat trade. If local farmers cannot sell enough turkeys, they will stop producing them and independent butchers will be left with a supply base that will offer them no point of difference to the major retailers.

In supplying premium traditional turkeys direct to their local butchers, British turkey farmers are providing a unique offer that these independent butchers should hang their hats on and market to the utmost.

This is what consumers want. They’re really not expecting to be sold eastern or western European butterflies for the most important meal of the year!

Independent butchers and retailers are in the unique position to provide their customers with a Christmas turkey that cannot be provided by the supermarkets, one that comes direct from the local farm.

Without exception, all the major supermarkets support British turkey for 100 percent of their fresh offer. Can I suggest independents should be doing the same?”

He said its company focuses on whole birds which make up 74% of its sales, with the internet playing an ever greater role. Last year 83% orders were placed online, with 52% out of office hours.

The new website to be launched this November – – provides the ability for butchers to take advantage of this with a facility to link their websites to take orders. Last year over 20,000 of the visits to the KellyBronze website resulted in a search for local suppliers.

Get Our E-Newsletter - Weekly email news from Poultry News
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy