Whole turkeys may be set for a comeback, according to Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys, in response to rising import prices.
In recent years butchers have sold imported butterflies – two breast joints attached by the breast skin – cheaply at Christmas as a commodity product.
“This year turkey butterflies look to be in short supply as current prices are up by about approximately 30%,” said Paul Kelly in his annual letter to customers.
“Switching customers to a whole turkey may be easier this year and is undoubtedly the best long-term solution for the specialist independent retailer. To remind you – our own retail sales from the farm shop are 72% whole bird, 14% crown and 14% breast joints.”
The good news is that prices will be little changed from last year – up by just 1.5% in line with overall cost rises.
Brexit has kept feed prices down. With the prospect of large tariffs on wheat for export, UK wheat has become uncompetitive and grain that would normally be shipped abroad is creating an oversupplied domestic market.
However, labour costs have risen substantially as a result of the higher minimum living wage and weak pound. “This means we have to pay more to attract our seasonal workforce,” said Kelly.