Christmas warning: turkey prices must rise

Consumers must pay more for turkey if they expect local fresh meat at Christmas, one of the leading industry players has claimed.

Bart Dalla Mura, UK chief executive of Bernard Matthews, said that spiralling wheat prices would create a challenged for the Christmas turkey market this year.

Speaking at the British Turkey Awards in London recently, he said it was imperative for retailers and other customers to recognise those higher costs.

"Two-thirds of the cost of producing a bird is feed. The EU is working to fix the problem but it will take time to go through and the pressure is going to go for a bit yet. We really do need these increases to go through."

Dalla Mura reported the industry had bounced back well in the aftermath of the AI outbreak at the start of the year, and thanked retailers for "keeping the faith".

"The retailers were fantastic - they had faith in our system controls and we thank them for not over-reacting but for keeping product on their shelves."

He added: "All we ask now is that the consumer understands that food costs money. Food is not free, and it is not cheap and they must pay the right amount for it."

He ended on a warning to customers: "If people want to continue to buy fresh, local turkey at Christmas, they need to buy it all year round."