Fears of more lockdowns and supply chain shortages have prompted Shropshire families to buy their Christmas meat much earlier this year.
G.N. Badley & Sons, from Trench in Telford, says it has seen a rise of more than 50% in people choosing to buy and freeze their festive turkeys.
Director Simon Badley said: “We have been actively encouraging people to take advantage of ‘early bird’ offers to take the uncertainty and worry out of Christmas – and it has certainly struck a chord.
“There will be many people who will come into the store in the two or three days before Christmas to pick up their fresh meat, as is the tradition.
“But we have seen a rise of more than 50% in advance orders – a mixture of regular customers, and many first-time purchasers as well.”
He added: “Even Santa and his fleet-footed reindeer can’t guarantee to solve the supply chain issues which are causing problems all around the world right now as a direct result of the pandemic.
“Will they be solved in time for Christmas? Who knows. Anyone who tells you they can give a 100% promise there will be no delays in the run-up to Christmas is, quite frankly, pulling the wool over your eyes.
“That’s why we have been recommending that it might be worth taking a more cautious approach this year, and not leaving it until the very last minute to collect your meat feast for the festive table.”
G.N. Badley & Sons says it has also once again seen a shift away from traditional whole turkeys this year in favour of much smaller cuts of meat.
“Sales of rolled turkey crown are up by more than 30% this year, and there is a general trend towards buying much smaller joints,” Mr Badley said
“Gammon is proving to be another popular choice, with sales up nearly 5%, and sales of pigs in blankets are also ahead of last year.”
The Gibbons Road store says it has also been doing brisk trade in sales of the newly crowned ‘Telford Sausage’ – pork, leek and stilton – which was crowned in a public taste test during 2021 Telford Sausage Week.