Turkey sales slump

Turkey sales across Britain have been hit badly by the bird flu outbreak at Bernard Matthews, new figures show. Loss of consumer confidence in turkey and chicken has not just affected Bernard Matthews but poultry producers in general.

Turkey sales across Britain have been hit badly by the bird flu outbreak at Bernard Matthews, new figures show.

Loss of consumer confidence in turkey and chicken has not just affected Bernard Matthews but poultry producers in general.

The figures from sales data collected at checkouts in more than 74,000 supermarkets and convenience stores is for the week ending February 10 - the week immediately after the outbreak was announced.

Shoppers spent £2.4m on fresh turkey, down £1m on the previous week. Frozen turkey sales fell by 33pc while sales of fresh turkey cuts and joints were down 30.3pc, according to market analysts AC Nielsen. Sales of fresh chicken dropped 7pc from £34m to £31.5m in the same week.

Meanwhile week-on-week sales of fresh beef rose from £31m to £33.2m and bacon increased from £19.9m to £20.6m.

Yesterday Bernard Matthews said its sales decreased by 40pc in the wake of the bird flu outbreak. Bird flu was confirmed at one of its farms in Holton, near Halesworth, on February 2. 2,500 chickens died and 159,000 more had to be culled.

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Eleni Nicholas, managing director of AC Nielsen, said: “Despite experts assuring the public that there is no risk of humans contracting avian flu via the food chain we have still recorded a significant drop in turkey sales.”

AC Nielsen's data comes from checkout scanners at all the major food chains in Britain. These include Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Waitrose, M&S, Somerfield, the Co-op, Spar, Londis and other convenience stores.