Christmas turkey prices set to rise

Rising feed prices mean shoppers can expect to pay 10% more for their Christmas turkey this year.

Feed costs have risen by as much as 25% during 2011, according to an NFU survey. Producers are expected to pass on the increase to butchers and consumers – unlike 2010, when many farmers held their prices.

“Last year, higher feed costs were in the pipeline but this year they are a reality,” NFU poultry adviser Chris Dickinson told an Anglian Turkey Association meeting at Prested Hall, Essex.

Prices to butchers will rise by about 7% this season, according to a straw poll of producers at the 13 September meeting. Farmgate prices and other retail prices will be higher – some by as much as 10%.

The Christmas turkey promotional campaign started in mid-September – a month earlier than usual. It included better packaging, with boxes that now included vents and a white panel for information about the bird inside.

Mr Dickinson said a Turkeys For Troops initiative would see the NFU working with the Army Benevolent Fund, encouraging producers to donate turkeys to families who had lost loved ones in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“It is not fully agreed yet, but we hope Turkeys For Troops will be done on a local and regional level. We’re aiming to have producers donate one or two birds each – it would generate a lot of goodwill with customers.”

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