A rare breed turkey unique to Waitrose is taking on free range birds from two of the country’s top turkey farmers, Kelly and Copas, in the 2008 British Turkey Awards.

All three birds have been shortlisted in the prestigious “Best Christmas Premium” category of the awards and the winner will now be selected by an independent panel of judges, which includes Poultry World reporter Lucy Knowles.

Waitrose says its Royal Palm rare breed turkey is aimed at customers who want a traditional turkey tasting “as it used to be”. Individually boxed and gas flushed for extra freshness, the turkeys will be available through the store’s entertaining order brochure this Christmas.

Turkey judging

Kelly Turkey Farms, which took the Christmas trophy last year with its famed KellyBronze, is hoping to hold on to the title with its “complete control” credentials from hatch to dispatch. Copas, which submitted a dry plucked organic bird retailing at £13.10 per kg, says its turkeys are aimed as discerning customers looking for something special for Christmas Day.

Kelly Turkey Farms secured another shortlisted place in the “Best Innovation” category with its groundbreaking Demi KellyBronze – a whole turkey chopped down the middle to give small families and couples the “KellyBronze experience” with minimal wastage.

The Demi KellyBronze is up against Bernard Matthews Packed Munch Breast Slices with added Omega 3 and an unusual stuffed thigh joint from catering specialist UK Foodhall.

This years judges are: Emma Marsden of Good Housekeeping, The Grocer’s Michael Barker, Poultry World reporter Lucy Knowles, Diane Lane of Caterer and Hotelkeeper and turkey consumer, Karon Sewell from Godalming, Surrey,

Winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 25 September at Claridges, with the help of celebrity comedian Frankie Boyle.

British Turkey Award categories

  • Added Value Product
  • Christmas Premium Product
  • Christmas Product
  • Christmas Convenience
  • Accompaniment
  • Barbecue Product
  • Branded Product
  • Primary Product
  • Innovation
  • Catering
  • Ready to Eat
  • Retailer of the Year