Festive lunches look lean as the price of turkey soars

Many of us could be loading up on sprouts and potatoes in lieu of an extra slice of turkey this Christmas, with heavy price rises making the festive dinner more expensive than ever.

Large increases in the cost of grain to feed the birds have pushed the costs of fresh turkey products up by double-digit percentages in the past year, a survey by The Grocer magazine and BrandView.co.uk has found.

A Bernard Matthews extra large Golden Norfolk turkey from Tesco is now £5 more expensive than last year, up 16.7 per cent. More modest portions have risen in price too, with a breast joint up 12.5 per cent to £4.49 in Morrisons.

The research indicated that own-brand items have not been spared either, with items in Sainsbury's, Asda and Tesco all going up. "People are so price conscious at the moment and they will be looking to save costs this Christmas," said Richard Ford, deputy fresh foods editor at The Grocer.

"But retailers are quite savvy these days. Grain prices have really impacted farmers over the past year, and, because of the recession and supermarkets trying to keep prices low, it has been quite tough for them."

However, the British Turkey Information Service said it was confident that people would not be downsizing.

"Christmas is a time when you want lots of leftovers, and people buy a turkey a bit too big for their family so they can have some on Boxing Day," said a spokesperson. "Our advice is don't buy boned and rolled joints; they aren't such good value for money because those are extra processes you're paying for."

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