<p>Christmas turkey dinner</p>

Christmas turkey dinner

Sales of frozen Christmas turkeys quadruple amid fears of shortages

The word ‘Christmas’ has been searched 17,000 times in the last week on Iceland’s website

Saman Javed
Monday 04 October 2021 11:32

Sales of frozen turkeys are up by more than 400 per cent, despite Christmas being almost three months away.

A consumer shift towards buying more frozen food during the pandemic and concerns about food shortages are spurring the rise in demand, industry experts said.

British supermarket Iceland, which sells mostly frozen foods, is currently seeing a 409 per cent increase in sales of turkeys compared to this time last year.

The word “Christmas” has also been searched more than 17,000 times across Iceland’s website in the last week, with consumers already beginning to purchase festive food.

Iceland said it is preparing for a much busier season than usual and has increased its order of frozen turkeys by 20 per cent. It will also launch its full range of Christmas meats two weeks earlier than normal.

Iceland bosses said the supermarket had anticipated increased demand for its Christmas produce following a surge in sales of frozen food during the pandemic.

According to the British Frozen Food Federation’s (BFFF) 2021 “Frozen Food” report, shoppers spent an extra £872 million on frozen goods last year.

It found that frozen food was the fastest-growing groceries category after alcohol.

Richard Harrow, chief executive of BFFF, said the rise in sales of frozen turkeys is “evidence of a growing awareness of frozen food’s quality, convenience and ability to reduce food waste”.

“Many consumers have been permanently converted to buying more frozen products by the long shelf-life, value for money and variety of food on offer.

“This combined with current concerns about food supply means many people will be opting for frozen this Christmas,” he said.

In August, the British Poultry Council, the trade association for the poultry industry, said its members had cut down Christmas turkey production by 20 per cent due to labour shortages caused by Brexit.

Last month, the government announced new plans to give 5,500 poultry workers to enter the UK on temporary work visas ahead of Christmas.

Richard Griffiths, the chief executive of the British Poultry Council welcomed the decision, saying that temporary workers from outside the UK “have long been vital to delivering Christmas”.

“Given the unprecedented challenges of the last year they are needed more than ever. British turkey and goose are the centrepieces of Christmas dinners across the country and we are pleased that the government has listened,” he said.

Other areas of Christmas groceries have also seen a spike in sales. Iceland said it had noticed an increase in people searching for “mince pies” as early as July.

Sales of mince pies in its stores are up 10 per cent compared to last year.

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