Bird flu causes slump in turkey sales
Published:  22 February, 2007

Latest sales data has shown a dramatic declines in the sales of turkey throughout Britain following the Bernard Matthews bird flu outbreak.

Data from Nielsen's Scantrack, which compiles actual sales as recorded through EPoS checkout scanners at more than 74,000 stores, shows sales of fresh turkey plummeted by 30% in the week ending 10 February 2007 from £3.4m to £2.4m the previous week and a 20% fall when compared with the same week period last year.

Frozen turkey sales dived by 33% on a year-on-year and week-on-week basis.

"Despite experts assuring the public that there is no risk to humans contracting avian flu virus via the food chain we have still recorded a significant drop in turkey sales," said Eleni Nicholas, group managing director of A C Nielsen UK and Ireland.

Chicken sales actually rose 3% when comparing sales for week ending 10 February with the same week in 2006. When comparing with the previous week, however, sales were down 8.5%.

"Since early January chicken sales have been fairly consistent at round £34m a week but dropped to £31.5m in the week ending 10 February 2007," said Nicholas.

However the fall in turkey and poultry sales was good news for the red meat sector as consumers switched to beef and pork boosting sales by around 18%.