Warning over cost of Christmas turkeysSoaring feed costs could push up prices

10 November 2007

Turkey could be more expensive this Christmas because of soaring feed costs, an industry expert has warned.

Global wheat prices have doubled this year, which in turn has pushed up the cost of turkey feed, according to British Poultry Council Chief Executive Peter Bradnock.

This could mean higher shop shelf prices unless retailers or producers cushion the blow.

Higher prices

Mr Bradnock said: 'I would expect to see an increase in prices compared with last year. I wouldn't want to put a percentage on it because it would differ depending on different suppliers.'

He added: 'Where it is possible for producers and processors to pass those costs on to their customers they will try to do so.'

Shoppers could be protected from the increased production costs if retailers accept lower margins.

Turkey producers fear they will be financially hit if supermarkets do not pay them enough to cover their rising costs.

Turkey feed

Feed accounts for half the cost of producing an oven-ready bird. Wheat makes up about 65% of turkey feed.

Between eight and 10 million turkeys are sold in the UK during the festive season - about half the amount sold annually.

The Unite union yesterday warned that a planned strike by workers at Bernard Matthews' turkey factories could threaten supermarket supplies in the run-up to Christmas.

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