There will 'definitely' be enough turkeys for Christmas - but choice will be limited

Staffing and supply chain issues meant there were fears that there could be a turkey shortage this Christmas. Credit: Unsplash

There will "definitely" be enough turkeys for Christmas roasts this year, poultry bosses have said.

The British Poultry Council (BPC) said on Monday morning that there is no reason to fear turkey shortages this Christmas.

BPC chief executive Richard Griffiths told the BBC there will be a turkey "for everyone who wants one" this Christmas. But he conceded there would be less choice this year, with turkey production and supply still limited compared to normal levels.

The news follows fears that supply chain and staffing issues - partly due to Covid and Brexit - could lead to a turkey shortage across the UK over the festive period.

Many foreign-born poultry workers in the UK returned to their home countries following Brexit and the pandemic.

Turkey producers are expected to "streamline" the variety of cuts they sell in UK supermarkets this Christmas. Credit: Unsplash

But a temporary visa scheme for foreign poultry workers has helped to ease staffing and supply issues, the BPC said on Monday.

In September, the government issued 5,500 visas to ease pressure on the sector.

Despite the good news for roast turkey lovers, the BPC said it expects turkey producers to "streamline" their products this year.

It expects whole producers to focus on selling whole turkeys and turkey crowns, rather than different cuts of the meat.

Supply chain issues and staffing shortages have led to empty shelves in some supermarkets this year. Credit: PA

Fears of a turkey shortage had lead to stockpiling of the Christmas bird.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed last week 18% of frozen turkeys were either not available, or stock was low, due to stockpiling. Although Christmas turkeys may be back on the menu, the temporary visa scheme came too late for some butchers.

Last month, 6,000 pigs were culled due to a shortage of butchers.