retailer-of-the-year-sainsb.jpgBritish Turkey in growth, says Federation chairman. Sainsbury’s scooped the coveted British Turkey Retailer of the Year title at the 2008 industry awards. The panel of independent judges declared the supermarket chain the winner for the sheer variety of its products, from free range steaks to basic drumsticks. The judges said the supermarket offered something for every day and every occasion, such as the convenience of 1kg bags of breast fillets to keep in the freezer, to a ready seasoned thigh joint for an economical midweek roast. But they also requested a special mention for Waitrose for its clear labelling flagging up usage, nutrition and provenance.

Sainsbury’s was presented with the Retailer of the Year trophy by TV chef Phil Vickery and Catriona Lee, chairman of British Turkey Federation’s Marketing Committee, in front of 200 guests and VIPs at Claridge’s, London.

Winners of the 13 categories were announced from over 100 entries, ranging from burgers, kebabs and sausages to rare breed, free range and organic whole turkeys.

The judging panel, made up of trade and consumer journalists, included a consumer – Surrey teacher Karon Sewell – who won her place through a competition on the British Turkey website. She said: “I love turkey and eat it often. But I never realised so many different British turkey products were out there in the shops.”

One of the most hotly contested awards – Best Christmas product – was for the first time subdivided into three sections. Lincs Turkeys won the trophy for a family favourite bird, Tesco was Christmas Convenience winner for a ready to cook thigh and breast joint, and Kelly Turkey Farms won Best Premium Turkey for its famed KellyBronze.

Asda picked up the Best Barbecue trophy for its prepacked turkey sausages, and Waitrose won Best Primary Product for its unique year-round fresh, free range Lincolnshire turkey. Bernard Matthews’ new-look packaging and recipes won them Best Added Value for breaststeaks coated in healthy seeds rather than crumbs.

Catriona Lee, marketing spokesman of the British Turkey Federation, said: “Once again retailers and producers have surpassed themselves. The quality and variety of British turkey products now available all year round on the supermarket shelves is at an all-time high.”

Andrew Lewins, Chairman of the British Turkey Federation, told the guests:
“Four years ago I stood on this platform lamenting 10 years of decline and pleading for the oxygen of growth, and this year we are going to show growth. Despite the threat of cheaper imported products, the sword of Damocles that is Avian Flu, and unprecedented cost price inflation, we work in a growth industry!

“The highest core standards of production, in terms of animal welfare and food safety which we call Quality British Turkey, have been recognised by our customers and our consumers, who in the face of a food miles debate and an ever increasing focus on traceability of our food, want British farmed turkey.

“Later this evening we will celebrate the best of products in various categories, and there will be no better testimony to how this great industry has responded to the needs of the market. For be they barn reared turkeys, free-range, organic; be they white, bronze or speciality breeds; be they in the form of whole birds, crowns, basted, stuffed, joints, sliced and diced or added value, there is British turkey for every taste, and British turkey for every pocket.” The evening also raised more than £5,000 for the children’s medical charity SPARKS.

The winners in full:

  1. Best Ready-to-eat product: Adlington Traditional Oak-Smoked Turkey
  2. Best Christmas Turkey: Lincs Turkeys Fresh Lincolnshire Turkey
  3. Christmas Convenience: Tesco Christmas Fresh Family Turkey Breast and Thigh Joint
  4. Christmas Premium: Kelly Turkeys KellyBronze Turkey
  5. Best Barbecue Product: Asda Turkey Sausages
  6. Best Branded Product: Lincs Turkeys Fresh Lincolnshire Turkey
  7. Best Innovative Product: Kelly Turkeys DemiBronze Turkey
  8. Best Accompaniment: Copas Very Very Special Coronation Sauce with Apricots
  9. Best Added Value: Bernard Matthews Big Green Tick Seeded Steaks
  10. Best Primary Product: Waitrose Fresh Lincolnshire Free Range Turkey
  11. Best Catering Product: Loxton Food Co. Turkey Escalope filled with Apricot, Fig, Thyme
  12. Retailer of the Year: Sainsbury’s
  13. Recipe writer of the year: Mary Cadogan, BBC Good Food
  14. Butcher of the year: Vic Gibson, Croydon
  15. Chef of the Year: James Rogers, The Dog Inn, Grundisburgh, Suffolk

Emma Marsden Good Housekeeping (Chair)
Karon Sewell Consumer
Diane Lane Caterer and Hotelkeeper
Michael Barker The Grocer
Lucy Knowles Poultry World

British Turkey
Tel: 0800 783 9994

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