Flying start to turkey price war

TurkeysChristmas may still be six weeks away, but the race among supermarkets to get their turkey on the dinner table come December 25 has already begun.

Budget retailer Aldi has announced that it will be selling a premium turkey for Christmas that will provide "more bird for the buck" than its rivals.

The move comes as shoppers are feeling the pinch of a sluggish economy and may look to cheaper brands for their Christmas food.

Aldi's Roly Poly turkey will be priced at £35.99, which is 40% cheaper than the average cost of premium turkeys last year, according to Aldi.

It hopes to sell 170,000 of the birds this year, more than double the 70,000 standard turkeys customers bought from Aldi in 2011.

"It is going to be one of the best on the market," an Aldi spokesman said. "The birds have been kept on straw and cared for around the clock to make sure they are the best. We are expecting them to fly off the shelves."

Aldi said other retailers are "set to increase the cost of their turkeys by 10%" due to "record rises" in the price of wheat, soya and animal feed.

Yet rival supermarkets have dismissed that claim and put forward their own pitch for the Christmas dinner table. A Tesco spokesman said: "We'll be offering a range of quality Christmas turkeys to suit every family's budget." The free-range turkey in Tesco's Finest range is priced at £34.43 for a 5kg bird.

Sainsbury's similarly stressed that it has a range of turkeys on offer to "suit each budget". A Taste the Difference free-range turkey weighing 4.99kg costs £42.37.

Morrisons said its turkey prices will not be increasing this year and insisted it offers shoppers the "best possible value" by selling a wider variety of turkey sizes than Aldi. Its 4kg to 4.6kg bird is priced at £30.

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