By Tom Glen, NFU poultry adviser
Our annual turkey marketing campaign kicked off in September with the NFU regional turkey marketing meetings. Having moved to a virtual meeting in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions it was great to meet in-person once again, to network, share ideas and discuss the challenges and opportunities seasonal turkey producers face.
Each year the NFU presents the estimated costs of producing a 5.5kg fresh turkey and illustrates the year-on-year changes. Our overall costings, calculated in August, showed a 7.3% increase in cost of production this year. This will vary from business to business and, as it was calculated in the summer, does not include the recent inflationary pressures we are seeing in feed, packaging and labour costs.
It was encouraging to hear from producers that their farmgate and butcher sales were already between four and five weeks ahead of a normal year. Shoppers are looking to secure their turkey earlier this year, which is why many traditional farmgate sales are ahead year-on-year. Consumers are also looking to make this Christmas extra special, especially as many didn’t get to spend it with family or friends last year and this is translating into higher demand for locally sourced, high quality and high welfare British turkeys.
A common theme from this year’s meetings was how harnessing the power of social media can help promote seasonal poultry businesses and boost farmgate sales.
The return of #BuyMyTurkey day on Friday 3 December provides a great opportunity to encourage people to buy from their local turkey producer using the NFU Turkey Finder, or to look for the Red Tractor logo if purchasing their turkey in the supermarket. We are also encouraging people to ask where their meat is sourced from if they purchase from the butcher and for everyone to post across social media using the hashtag #BuyMyTurkey to highlight why people should buy a British turkey this Christmas. If you need some inspiration, head to the NFU website for information on how to get involved, you don’t have to be a turkey producer to show your support and get involved.