Recent insight reveals that the UK could face a turkey shortage this Christmas as a heatwave in France has resulted in dwindling supplies of eggs for farmers.
French breeders report that high temperatures have led to eggs being lost and UK supplies have consequently taken a hit. France provides around a quarter of eggs hatched in the UK, these eggs then go on to become the birds that form the famous centrepiece of festive dining tables across the country. Supply is around 10% down on expected levels after temperatures topped 40 C in France and the impact of July and August’s hot weather in Europe together with a lack of South American product in the market is impacting on fresh turkey availability.
The egg shortages come as turkey farmers also face potential cost rises from a shortage of labour partly caused by uncertainty over Brexit which has deterred workers from coming to the UK. There is little doubt that this will be an extremely tough Christmas on turkey as capacity in the market will be very limited keeping prices higher year on year.
10 million turkeys are eaten in the UK each year, with at least 76% of people in Britain expected to tuck into the festive favourite for their Christmas dinner[i] but with less availability and heightened prices, what alternatives are available?
Christopher Johnson, Food Category Manager at Beacon commented: “Insight from our suppliers suggests that we may well see a shortage of turkeys this Christmas as the result of soaring temperatures across Europe, especially in France this summer. While large retailers will have their turkey quota already assured, we may see independent retailers and hospitality businesses being hit hardest by lowered stock levels and increased prices. These price increases are also likely be felt by consumers this festive season the consumer in order to make ends meet in an already challenging and competitive market.”
“This comes at a time when economic uncertainty is at its highest; with Brexit just around the corner, the future of supply chains, particularly in the hospitality sector, is under question. Coupled with increased costs being seen across many food and drink items we may see Brits swapping their traditional turkey for alternatives such as goose, chicken or meat free alternatives. Family feasts around the country could look quite different this Christmas.”