Danbury: Exploit the feel-good factor, advises turkey supremo Paul Kelly

Kelly Bronze Turkeys in Danbury.

Kelly Bronze Turkeys in Danbury.

FARMERS and butchers must play to their strengths and maximise the feel-good factor if they are going to protect and develop their Christmas turkey market, an Essex turkey supremo has advised.

Paul Kelly of Kelly Bronze Turkeys in Danbury

Paul Kelly of Kelly Bronze Turkeys in Danbury

Paul Kelly managing director of Danbury-based Farmgate Hatcheries and of Kelly Turkeys, said the future success of traditional Christmas turkey production depends on establishing clear points of difference from the major retailers, who were now supplying better quality, free range and bronze turkeys.

There were a number of points of difference that major retailers find very difficult to achieve, he said in his annual newsletter to producers.

Farmers and butchers should maximise the ‘magical experience’ and ‘feel good factor’ of collecting the Christmas turkey from a local supplier with the transparent provenance this provides, he said, along with conveying the benefits of dry processing and hanging.

“Farmgate sales to the local community are still a growth area,” he said.

“Collecting the turkey from the local farm or butcher has tremendous perceived value,” he added.

Christmas dinner is a very indulgent meal, and one that people will continue to treat themselves to, he pointed out, even though times were tough economically.

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“My personal belief is demand for good quality farm fresh turkeys will continue to grow in the long term providing we as farmers work hard at ensuring consumers know where to buy our turkey and offer an easy order service with a range of added value products to satisfy demand,” he said.

In his own case more than 75% of all retail orders came for the Kelly Turkeys website

“The days of telephone and snail mail are quickly coming to an end,” he said.

He warned against dumping unsold turkeys on to local wholesale markets which were again oversupplied with very cheap prices.

“Local markets are useful but not if they are used by our customers to buy turkeys at depressed prices way below the cost of production. If you have turkeys left over, cut them up and freeze them to be used by family and friends after Christmas, rather than oversupply the local market,” he said.

“The attraction of realising the cash at whatever cost can be very expensive in the long term if your local customers go to the auction market to buy rather than direct from you.”