Over half the UK population of free-range turkeys wiped out by bird flu causing shortages and increasing prices.
As we reported last month, the potential for a turkey shortage this Christmas is unfortunately becoming a reality. Poultry farmers have said that around half of all free-range turkeys have now died or been culled due to bird flu, leading to concerns that many families and businesses will miss out on their traditional Christmas dinner.
The situation is especially dire for free-range turkeys, as around half of the 1.2M birds that were due to be sold this Christmas have now been taken out of the market. While the total supply of turkeys for Christmas is still relatively strong at 7 to 7.5 million, around 1.6M birds have been affected, which has had a significant impact on the industry.
At a Commons hearing, British Poultry Council chief executive Richard Griffiths said, “This year is the worst bird flu outbreak that we've seen,”. Mr Griffiths also stated that around 36% of poultry farms were currently under restrictions linked to bird flu “So it's huge and the ongoing costs for industry and food production are potentially enormous.”.
The shortages are driving up prices for consumers and foodservice businesses alike, with some Operators even advised to offer alternatives to turkey this year, such as venison, pork or vegetarian options. Therefore, if you haven’t already been in touch with your supplier to secure your order, please contact them as soon as possible to ensure you’re aware of their supply status and any potential impact on prices.