Time is being called on frozen turkey snobbery as it is revealed that so-called fresh turkeys have often been ‘deep chilled’ for over a week and in some cases up to a month, before even hitting supermarket shelves.
As most of us will buy our turkeys a few days in advance of the big day, this means that often we are serving up a bird which has been in storage for more than ten days. Frozen turkeys, in comparison, are flash frozen immediately and then preserved in our freezers before being cooked, using ‘nature’s pause button’ to seal in the flavour.
The revelation comes as Iceland’s frozen turkey priced at £26 is crowned as the winner in the Good Housekeeping Christmas taste test – beating versions costing up to £95 from luxury farm shops. These same farm shops, known for supplying royalty with their festive centrepieces, make no secret of the fact that they offer frozen turkeys to offer optimum freshness.
Not only does a frozen turkey mean a fresher turkey, but it also offers the guarantee of a turkey well ahead of time. Each of the ‘big four’ supermarkets is offering fresh turkeys from the 20th December – at which point millions of consumers will rush out to stores for a bird which expires on Boxing Day.
Nigel Broadhurst, Managing Director at Iceland said: “It’s a well-known industry fact that the majority of ‘fresh’ turkeys that hit our shelves just before Christmas have in fact been in cold stores for weeks. It would just be impossible for millions of truly fresh birds to suddenly appear on shelves on the same date!
By buying frozen, you can be sure that the freshness is sealed in from the start and enjoy the festive build up safe in the knowledge that your turkey is in the freezer – instead of joining the crowds who rush to buy a so-called fresh turkey at the last minute.”
Miles Levy, Managing Director at Oakfield Food said: “We have over 30 years’ experience of supplying both chilled and frozen turkeys and in that time we have seen a significant increase in demand for frozen birds. We know from our experience of working with retailers and their supply chains that buying frozen really is a great way to guarantee a fresh turkey this Christmas.”
John Hyman, Chief Executive of the British Frozen Food Federation said: “Turkeys are frozen within hours of being butchered and freezing is nature’s way of locking in the freshness. The snobbery that still exists around frozen poultry is completely unfounded as frozen turkey is as fresh as chilled, and in some cases fresher than one found in the chiller which may have been prepared and stored well before Christmas, in order to help manage the peak in seasonal demand.”
Finally, the economies of frozen mean that we are getting much better value when selecting a turkey from the frozen aisle. Shoppers can pick up a large frozen festive bird for just £13 from Iceland, compared to £23 for the same size fresh turkey at Waitrose. If they opt for an entirely frozen Christmas dinner, they can save over 40% on average when compared with fresh. By doing their Christmas food shopping in the frozen aisle, Iceland customers can feed a family of six for just £3.25 a head, without compromising on freshness.
For more information about Iceland’s Christmas range, please visit: www.iceland.co.uk