Could turkeys be off the menu this Christmas?

Last updated at 06:56
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Will we have to give the turkey a miss this Christmas?

For many of us, Christmas isn't Christmas without a big turkey for dinner.

The roasted bird, all the trimmings you can imagine, the crackers - it's all very exciting!

However, there are fears that our feathered friend could be off the menu this year following an extremely hot summer in France. Temperatures there reached an astounding 40 degrees and the heat has affected turkey eggs. And fewer eggs means fewer turkeys!

The supply of turkeys is said to be down by about 10% compared to typical levels, which could lead to fewer turkeys and higher prices.

What's caused the drop in supply?

France provides around a quarter of turkey eggs which later hatch out as turkeys in the UK which are ultimately bought by consumers.

However, around one in ten of these eggs weren't incubated properly - meaning they couldn't grow as they should - because of the intense heat in France during summer.

Supplies of turkey eggs to the UK from South America have also dropped and uncertainty surrounding Brexit may also have had an impact on imported eggs.

But the people in charge of turkey and chicken farming in the UK say they've got a handle on the situation so we don't need to panic.

Shraddha Kaul of the British Poultry Council said: "We need to keep an eye on supply of French eggs but hopefully the supply issues will be sorted out sooner rather than later,"

"British turkey farmers have worked hard to have a sustainable supply of meat for Christmas."

Are there alternatives?

Around 10 million turkeys are eaten in the UK every single year and 76% of people are expected to feature the bird in their Christmas meal. But with the possibility of fewer turkeys, what alternatives are out there?

"...we may see Brits swapping their traditional turkey for alternatives such as goose, chicken or meat-free alternatives. Family feasts around the country could look quite different this Christmas," said Christopher Johnson, Food Category Manager at purchasing company Beacon.

What do you think?

Are you a fan of the Christmas turkey? What Christmas meal item could you not live without? Let us know in the comments!

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