Pubs urged to prepare for ‘premium price’ Christmas turkeys

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Food costs: turkey prices are expected to continue to rise (image: Getty/Diana Miller)
Food costs: turkey prices are expected to continue to rise (image: Getty/Diana Miller)

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Operators have been encouraged to plan ahead for their Christmas menus after the impact of multiple factors such as avian flu and rising production costs have sent prices rocketing.

Costs are expected to continue to increase as a result of various issues impacting the poultry sector.

Lynx Purchasing managing director Rachel Dobson said it was likely a little early to forecast a significant shortage of Christmas turkeys, she warned operators to expect to pay a “premium price” in the run up to the festive season.

Sharp increases

“Poultry producers are dealing with the impact of avian flu, the labour shortage, increased transport costs and in particular, very high costs for feed, as a result of the continuing tragic events in Ukraine,” she added.

“Operators have already seen sharp increases in poultry prices this year, against a background of the generally very high level of inflation and that looks set to continue.

“Our advice to pubs is to assess the demand for Christmas menus early and to talk to suppliers to place orders in good time.”

National Farmers Union (NFU) board chair James Mottershead said soaring production costs were putting the British poultry sector under “immense pressure”.

Significant challenges

He cited the price of animal feed having soared by 70% over the past two years and the cost of rearing a chicken over the past 12 months having increased by 50%.

Mottershead added: “Producers are doing everything they can to continue to produce quality, affordable eggs and poultry meat, which are staple products in so many people’s diets but this escalating situation is causing many to consider their future in the industry.

“Every element of the supply chain is facing significant challenges and we are in discussion with the Government and retailers about how farm businesses can remain viable and resilient to ensure poultry producers continue producing British poultry meat and eggs.”

In March, Lynx’s Dobson urged operators to budget for a rise in chicken costs​ after prices were impacted by the Ukraine invasion.

She said the cost of feed was one of the biggest factors in the price of poultry and the loss of grain feed from Ukraine and Russia having a serious impact on costs.

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