UK turkey producer, Paul Kelly, is targeting a Thanksgiving sales growth in the US, based on his KellyBronze turkey brand which was the focus of a recent promotional mission to New York.
“We sent a sample batch to the US last Thanksgiving and they (butcher/retailers) loved our turkey and presentation,” said Mr Kelly, managing director of Essex-based Kelly Turkeys.
“They were impressed that the KellyBronze is so dramatically different to what they’re used to selling and, even with a huge price differential, they’re going to stock it this year.”
The company already has supply deals with a butcher in Washington, whose turkey sales last year were 30% KellyBronze; plus Dickson’s Farmstand in Chelsea market and Fleishers Craft Butchery, who have five outlets in New York and surrounding areas.
“The irony is that although UK traditional turkeys are ‘New York dressed’ – hung for two or three weeks before processing for a more mature flavour – hardly anyone in the US understands that term,” said Mr Kelly (pictured above). “The dry plucking and hanging process is totally alien to them.”
Comparing his company’s US venture with how the Kelly business started in the UK 30 years ago, Mr Kelly said he was reminded of the times when it all felt like “pushing water uphill”.
“The difference starting in the US now is that we’ve far more resources,” he said. “We also know what to do, as all the pitfalls, and the issues around free range farming and dry processing, have been resolved in the UK over these 30 years.
“We can therefore hit the ground running in the US although I fully appreciate we’ve a long way to go. While I’m also well aware that the US has been a graveyard for many UK companies, I am quietly very confident. And I love the challenge.”
The KellyBronze turkeys scheduled for Thanksgiving 2016 have already hatched and are being reared at Heritage Glen Farm, Virginia, by Judd and Cari Culver.