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Turkey Twizzlers sell out across UK within hours as they return to shelves after 15 years

Bernard Matthews says it has seen ‘unprecedented demand for the next generation Turkey Twizzler’

Sarah Young
Saturday 22 August 2020 12:35 BST
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Turkey Twizzlers are making a healthier comeback

Turkey Twizzlers have sold out in shops across the UK after returning to supermarket shelves for the first time in 15 years.

On Friday, the corkscrew strips of meat, which were a staple on school menus in the 1990s, made a “healthier” comeback in Iceland stores.

However, many shoppers found themselves unable to get their hands on the throwback snack as the retailer faced “unprecedented demand”.

Sharing their disappointment at not being able to buy Turkey Twizzlers on launch day, one person wrote on Twitter: “I went to @IcelandFoods today to buy some Turkey Twizzlers and relive my slipped away youth. Iceland didn’t have any. Today was a bad day.”

Another person added: “Come Iceland for my Turkey Twizzlers and they sold out within the hour they opened, bloody fuming I am.”

Food manufacturer Bernard Matthews has since issued a statement saying that it is trying to replenish stocks as quickly as possible.

“Turkey Twizzler fiends, we've seen unprecedented demand for the next generation Turkey Twizzler,” the company said.

“They are available in Iceland, but some have limited availability or have sold out. All Iceland Stores will be fully stocked at the latest 7 September.”

Iceland also said it was working on getting Turkey Twizzlers back on shelves.

Alongside a meme from South Park featuring a character saying “Aaaaaand it’s gone”, the supermarket wrote: “Us this morning when the #TurkeyTwizzlers hit the freezers...Sorry we’ve sold out in most stores, but we’re talking to the Turkey Twizzler people and we’ll get some more as soon as we can. We’ll keep you posted!”

According to Bernard Matthews, the new Turkey Twizzlers have been made using “healthier” recipes with lower fat, salt and sugar, which score orange and green on the traffic-light food labelling system. They also contain 70 per cent turkey meat – compared to the previous products which contained 34 per cent – and no E-numbers.

“If you look at our product now and let's say you compared, say, two pork sausages to two Twizzlers, there's 83 per cent more saturated fat in two average pork sausages compared to two Twizzlers,” David Leigh, marketing director at Bernard Matthews, told the BBC.

“So we have spent a lot of time making sure that we are delivering a healthy, a significantly healthier, product than it was before. It is very much a different product.”

However, not everyone has been satisfied with the relaunch. Barbara Crowther, of the Children's Food Campaign, told the Guardian: “The fact it’s taken Bernard Matthews 15 years to reformulate the Turkey Twizzler shows what a truly terrible product it used to be.

“Doubling the turkey content still only takes it to 67-70 per cent meat content, and while it’s a healthier version of its former self, it remains an ultra-processed product.”

She continued: “We recommend sticking to fresh, whole, free-range and/or organic turkey, low-fat, high in protein and with no added sugars at all.”

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver was instrumental in Turkey Twizzlers being removed from supermarket shelves after he called them bad for children's health during a TV campaign for better school dinners in 2005.

Speaking of the product's 34 per cent turkey meat content, Oliver said at the time: “The prospect of what else is in them isn’t particularly good.

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