Supermarket takes on Kellys and Copas

Waitrose is gearing up to take on two of the country's top turkey farmers in this year's British Turkey Awards.

A rare breed turkey, unique to the supermarket, has been shortlisted alongside birds from Kelly and Copas for the prestigious Best Christmas Premium category of the awards.

The three birds will now be assessed by an independent panel of judges, including a consumer who won a place on the panel through a competition on the British Turkey website.

Mother-of-two Karon Sewell, of Godalming, Surrey, said: "I love turkey, so I'm up for the challenge! We often eat turkey at home because of its versatility and health benefits and I'm sure products like the shortlisted barbecue turkey kebabs or turkey sausages will encourage other people to eat turkey all year round."

Waitrose says its Royal Palm rare breed turkey is aimed at the traditional turkey market. Individually boxed and gas-flushed for extra freshness, the turkeys will be available through the brochure this Christmas.

Kelly Turkey Farms, which took the Best Christmas trophy last year with its famed KellyBronze, is hoping to hold on to the title with its "complete control" credentials from hatch to dispatch. Copas, which submitted a dry-plucked organic bird, retailing at £13.10/kg, says its turkeys are aimed at discerning customers looking for something special for Christmas Day.

Kelly Turkey Farms secured another shortlisted place in the Best Innovation category with its Demi KellyBronze - a whole turkey chopped down the middle to give small families and couples the "KellyBronze experience" with minimal wastage.

The Demi KellyBronze is up against Bernard Matthews' Packed Munch Breast Slices with added Omega 3 and an unusual stuffed thigh joint from catering specialist UK Foodhall.

From more than 150 entries, the independent panel of judges will be tasting their way through a record 30 turkey products including six whole roast turkeys and various accompaniments.

Catriona Lee, chairman of the British Turkey Federation's marketing committee, said: "This is the 12th year of the awards and they have grown bigger and better every year. We are constantly updating the categories to reflect the way retailers are continually improving and developing their turkey fixtures.

"This year it was decided to split the all-important Christmas category into three parts to showcase premium whole birds, such as organic, free-range and special breeds, plus traditional family birds and convenience products."

Winners of each category will be announced at a gala dinner on 25 September at Claridges, with the help of celebrity comedian Frankie Boyle.

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