“Will recession and the credit crunch affect Christmas sales of premium turkey? That is the big question,” said Mr Kelly.
“The theory would suggest yes, but the reality is probably no. Our sales records show that during the early ’90s, when the economy was in deep recession, our volume from the farm gate did not drop,” he said.
Mr Kelly referred to major retailers increasing orders for premium fresh turkeys in 2007, in anticipation of higher demand. This was done, even though prices charged to the retailers had increased by 15%.
He also forecast that retail prices would vary from £4/kg to £4.49 for standard fresh, £6 to £6.99 for free range, £7.49 to £8.99 for bronze free range and £8.99 to £12.99 for organic.
But frozen turkeys that retail at a substantial discount to fresh, at £1.20-£2.50kgs, were in continual decline, he added.
“In an economic downturn the number of people eating out on Christmas Day falls as they treat themselves to a feast at home,” said Mr Kelly.