A Brighter Future for the Christmas Turkey Market

UK - Concerns about price resistance at the top end of the Christmas turkey market are unfounded, according to Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys.
calendar icon 30 January 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Some people are blaming this for "odd small pockets of turkeys" left unsold at Christmas, says Mr Kelly in his seasonal letter to poult customers of FarmGate Hatcheries.

"Study your customer base, get close to them and produce what you know you can sell."
Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys.

"Our experience totally contradicts this as we had double digit percentage growth in both our farm gate and home delivery retail sales," he says. "We put our prices up by 10 per cent to recover costs. Even if we had reduced our price by 10 per cent, I do not believe we would have sold one more turkey.

"I do not believe it was price that created a small surplus of turkeys, but a genuine case of slight over supply caused by a small shift of people buying an alternative to turkey due to avian flu and wildly inaccurate press about very expensive turkeys."

Kelly Turkeys' experience at Christmas was of very strong sales for whole birds, growth of four per cent in breast joints and crowns ('half the increase of last year, so my feeling is the growth in this sector is starting to plateau') and organic turkeys up by six per cent.

He urges all producers to go for farm gate sales to the local community. "It ticks all the right boxes for consumer needs. Study your customer base, get close to them and produce what you know you can sell. Do not rely on maybe selling surplus turkeys at the last minute."

FarmGate Hatcheries is offering five breeds in bronze and four in white, supplying from week beginning May 19 to September 15. The massive hike in feed prices has led to an increase of 27p / poult for as-hatched and 39p / poult for sexed hens. Almost half is blamed on higher feed costs, and half on general inflation particularly energy costs.

The average price increase for peak season poults is 9.8 per cent, with list prices based on January breeder ration at £218.65, and a reduction or increase in price in line with feed price movements.

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