Europe News

Thanksgiving: Luxury bird competes with budget turkey

'People are treating themselves': Kelly Turkey Farms

Gobble gobble. Today is turkey day in the U.S. Approximately 60 million turkeys will be prepared and eaten during the Thanksgiving holiday.

In the U.K., Thanksgiving may only be celebrated by American expats, but the roast turkey constitutes a central part of the Christmas day feast. According to the British Turkey Federation, some 10 million Turkeys are devoured in the U.K. at Christmas each year.

An estimated total of £22 billion ($36 billion) is spent by U.K. households at Christmas -- an average of £835 per household. Of that, £161 goes on food and drink.

The British Turkey Federation says 76 percent of U.K. families serve up a roast turkey for their Christmas meal.

According to recent press reports, the retail price of the beloved turkey will go up 20 percent this year. "The Grocer" writes that the price of a frozen turkey weighing 5-6 kg was £17 last year and will be £20 this year.

(Read more: Even without bigbirds, there's plenty of turkey for Thanksgiving)

But Paul Kelly, managing director of Essex-based Kelly Turkey Farms believes these fears seem overdone. He told CNBC: "I don't think it'll be 20 percent this year."

The price of a turkey is dictated by when farmers set their fees. This in turn is determined by the soya and wheat market or the cost of feed and it's an extremely volatile.

"It's like playing roulette," said Kelly. "You honestly don't know what's going to happen."

Tetra Images | Getty Images

Kelly Turkey Farms has recently expanded into the U.S., tapping a hugely promising, but competitive market. However Kelly isn't aiming to compete with the likes of Wal-Mart.

He told CNBC: "A lot of the big producers out there say: 'Paul, turkeys are a buck a pound, get over it they will not sell for any more.' But I just believe, if I look at the sales of fine wines and the best champagnes they go through the roof at Thanksgiving, so there has to be a market."

(Read more: Thanksgiving dinner to costless this year)

In the U.S. the American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that the retail cost for a classic Thanksgiving dinner is down 1 percent year on year, the lowest since 2010.

Barclays ascribes this to aggressive promotions by U.S. supermarkets, often selling frozen turkeys at a loss.

Kelly told CNBC: "They're loss leaders. They're selling them at a loss to get people into the store to do the rest of their shop."

"Our turkeys are $10.99 a pound out there. You can get twenty of theirs for one of ours."

However, research suggests that since mid-2006, the price of a 15-pound turkey has risen 60 percent to $27.29, a record high. The main reason is buoyant demand from overseas, especially Mexico, China, Hong Kong and Canada.