September’s British Turkey Awards ceremony came to a nail-biting climax as the winner of the top Retailer of the Year award was won by Morrisons. The title was clinched as judges felt their everyday range of fresh turkey portions looked “very fresh and appealing with some attractive marinades to bring consumers to the fixture”, and offered a “huge choice in range and lots of small sizes that can be tried out any day of the week”.

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Morrisons was the unanimous winner during the judging day where the independent panel looked at ranges from all retailer’s that entered including Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and The Co-Operative. Each showed they had a good supply of the essential cuts, including mince, breast steaks and fillets, stir fry strips and diced thigh, with some more innovative products too, such as barbecue burgers and sausages, different types of mince with varying fat contents, and new, unexpected flavours like Tomato & Basil for added value and convenience.

Asda’s everyday range came a close second, for its wide selection and good labelling. The World Cup as a barbecue meal occasion was suggested via football stickers on pack which judges thought would draw in more consumers to try turkey.

Morrisons was handed the Retailer of the Year trophy by stand-up and television comedian Patrick Kielty, and Paul Kelly, chair of the British Turkey Federation, in front of more than 260 guests from the British Turkey industry and VIPs at The Savoy, London. Kielty also provided after-dinner entertainment.

Winners of the 13 categories were announced from 158 entries, ranging from mini turkey fillets topped with brie, cranberry and bacon to special breeds of whole turkey such as Narragansett and Roly Poly – judges tasted 17 different whole Christmas turkeys in total.

The Best Christmas Traditional Product, in which standard white turkeys are entered, was won by Morrisons Fresh Turkey as a great all-rounder with a good appearance. For its subtle gaminess and juicy dark and white meat, judges chose Asda Blue Slate Turkey in the Best Christmas Premium category. And the ultimate in Christmas ease of cooking and top festive flavour  was awarded to Sainsbury’s Turkey Breast and Thigh Joint with Cranberry and Apple Stuffing, Topped with Cranberry and Apricot as the Best Christmas Convenience Product.

The judges comprised of Sheena Correa, food editor of Eat In magazine; Ed Bedington, ediotriSheila Eggleston, Group Food and Drink Editor for catering titles at Dewberry Redpoint; Lee Maycock, Chef Director at Craft Guild of Chefs; British Turkey ambassador and food blogger Filipa Kay (aka Gourmet Mum) and Celina Mann – a member of the public who won her place on the panel through a competition on the British Turkey website. Mann said: “I cook turkey at home all the time for my family but even I was surprised to see there is so much out there all year round in the shops. Tasting the line-up of Christmas turkeys was really interesting too as I didn’t realise they could taste so different. It’s not every day you get to do a taste test side by side and there really is something to suit all budgets.”

Paul Kelly, Chair of the British Turkey Federation, said: “The 2014 British Turkey Awards has once again been very exciting and I would like to extend my congratulations to all the deserving producers and retailers who are working hard to put the very best turkey products on our plates both at Christmas and the rest of the year. Winning products will be flagged up to customers on packs using a British Turkey Awards winner logo to show they really are buying the best of British.”

The evening also raised more than £14,500 for the children’s medical charity Sparks, and Dravet Syndrome UK.

The winners in full:

Best Meal Solution (sponsored by Hybrid Turkeys) By Sainsbury’s Thigh Joint with a herb & cranberry crumb

Best Christmas Convenience Product (sponsored by Securcom) Sainsbury’s Turkey Breast & Thigh Joint with Pork, Cranberry & Apple Stuffing, Topped with Cranberry & Apricot

Best Christmas Traditional Product (sponsored by Easichick) Morrisons Fresh Whole Turkey

Best Christmas Premium Product (sponsored by Clarke Group Construction Ltd) Asda Butchers Selection Blue Slate Whole turkey

Best Innovation Christmas (sponsored by ABN) Sainsbury’s TtD Norfolk Black Free Range Turkey Parcel. Layered With Chestnut, Maple and thyme stuffing, cranberries and wrapped in oak smoked bacon

Best Innovation All Year Round (sponsored by ABN) Asda chosen by you turkey mini fillets with brie, cranberry sauce & bacon

Best Foodservice Product for Cost Sector (sponsored by Noble Foods) The UK Foodhall Ready to Roast British Turkey Breast

Best Foodservice Product for Profit Sector (sponsored by Noble Foods) Mitchells & Butler – Toby Carvery – Carvery Turkey Crown

Best Ready-to-Eat Product (sponsored by Calor) Adlington Roasted Turkey Breast Stuffed with Ham & Wholegrain Mustard

Foodservice operator of the year (sponsored by Coveris) Mitchells & Butler – Toby Carvery

Best Blogger Recipe (sponsored by Red Tractor) Foodycat Alicia – Turkey B’stilla

Student Chefs of the Year (sponsored by Aviagen Turkeys) David Pullin of South Staffordshire College for his ‘Oasis of the Middle East’ Turkey bonbon, Yellow Split Pea Hummus Shredded Turkey Thigh in Moroccan Style Chutney, Saffron Couscous, Arabic Flatbread Shard and Mint Yoghurt Dip

Jessica Marshall of Hull College for her ‘Golden saffron potato surprise with a blanket of rice topped with fried spinach and spiced turkey batons coated in pomegranate reduction with ground pistachios encased, surrounded by a crab apple and blackberry jam sauce with poached rose water rhubarb’

Retailer of the Year (sponsored by Zoetis) Morrisons

www.britishturkey.co.uk

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