Danbury: There’s further growth in Xmas turkey market, says turkey supremo Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly, his wife Marisa, their children, India, Toby and Ella, and Paul's father, Derek Kelly

Paul Kelly, his wife Marisa, their children, India, Toby and Ella, and Paul's father, Derek Kelly - Credit: Archant

There is untapped growth potential in the traditional Christmas turkey market, according to one of the sector’s leading figures.

Paul Kelly, managing director of Danbury-based premium turkey producers Kelly Turkeys is urging Christmas turkey producers to get into the market for joints and added value products.

“While whole bird sales do make up the majority of Christmas sales, the market for joints and added value products is growing. This is a market you must get into in order to stay in the race.”

“Crowns and joints were averaging about £16 per kg at retail at Christmas — they can be very profitable.”

Providing added value is one of the keys to future growth, he said.


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“Quality farm fresh turkeys have the potential to increase their market share 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.

He says producers should be using the internet to make ordering easy .

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“In 2013 just 11% of our retail orders were received via our traditional price list that is mailed out to our customers. Of all our retail orders online, 62% were taken out of office hours. You need to provide a 24/7 ordering service and it must be online — and not a telephone answering machine.”

This year FarmGate Hatcheries, which is part of the family-owned Kelly Turkeys, is offering a range of five breeds in both bronze and white, to poult customers.

“I think I can confidently say I have tasted more turkeys of different breeds than anyone on the planet,” he said in FarmGate Hatcheries’ newsletter.

“I can assure you there are big differences in various breeding lines for both bronze and white. We have stopped breeding from two pure lines over the past three years because of relatively poor eating quality.

“Ultimately it is the experience your customers have at the Christmas dinner that is the key to repeat business.”

The firm says its day-old poults, which are available from mid May to mid September, have gone up in price, but by less than 1%, due to inflation in power and wages which offset savings in feed costs.

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