An increase in demand for whole turkeys this Christmas is reversing the sales growth in crowns over recent years, says Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys.

“What I am particularly loving to see is that crown sales are reducing this year and whole birds are on the increase,” he said. “This is a trend that makes so much sense for the consumer in terms of value for money – and for us in terms of the extra butchery work needed in producing crowns.

“Our sales are very strong with web sales up ten percent and farm gate sales up eight percent. The turkeys have all grown very big this year with all small 4 and 5 kg turkeys in great demand. I guess a mild, dry autumn and good quality wheat are the reasons why.”

He said that Christmas processing by UK companies seemed to be going smoothly at the moment, with the last turkeys being processed this weekend.

Bird flu had not been seen in the UK this autumn. “If it doesn’t for the next few days, turkey farmers will breathe a big sigh of relief. It is unfortunately in Holland at the moment, but the wave is nowhere near as big as last year.”