UK faces major turkey shortage at Christmas, businesses warn

Companies have warned that turkey will be limited for people in the UK this December – but its not the type of restrictions that will stop a Christmas get away to Marmaris.

A major supplier has warned that there will be a shortage in the traditional Christmas food as the sector is set to be ‘hit massively’ due to its reliance on agencies who bring in labour from the EU which is no longer accessible.

Paul Kelly, the managing director of KellyBronze – a company which produces hand-plucked, free-range turkeys – said that the shortage fears come after many EU workers have left the UK

He said: “Since having access to EU workers the UK turkey industry has built up the farms and infrastructure needed to supply just about 100 per cent of the turkey the supermarkets need – and the supermarkets have been very supportive of quality British turkey production.

READ MORE: Scotland’s £9bn Brexit blow as UK suffers exports drop since leaving EU

“Covid has not helped the labour situation but it is not the primary reason as many EU workers have left UK.

“They do not feel welcome anymore and unless they have settled status, which only lasts for five years, the paperwork they need to go through to get here is bureaucratic and the expense is costly.”

This comes as last month the British Poultry Council (BPC) warned that there was a significant shortage of workers facing the industry, with business reporting an average vacancy rate of over 16 percent of their total workforce.

Now the BPC fear that the shortage of workers will only increase due to the effects of Brexit and the acts of a “government that continually goes against the best interests of British food producers.”

Should the UK producers fail to employ enough labour for the processing, as expected by suppliers such as KellyBronze, consumers will have no option other than to buy a French turkey for Christmas.

Mr Kelly added: “Sad thing is, 30 years ago about 30% of the UK turkey market was supplied by France.

“Now, the French factories are rubbing their hands with glee as they can see all that business, they used to have returning to them.”


The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992