The traditional ‘crown’ style birds are losing ground to birds with dark and white meat.

ESSEX, England – According to a leading turkey producer in the United Kingdom, holiday demand for whole turkey is increasing as fewer British consumers are opting for “crowns,” or whole birds with the legs and wings removed.

“What I am particularly loving to see is that crown sales are reducing this year and whole birds are on the increase,” said Paul Kelly, managing director of Danbury-based Kelly Turkeys. The whole-bird option, which included white and dark meat, gives consumers more options at the dinner table and require less labor at the processing plant, according to Kelly.

“This is a trend that makes so much sense for the consumer in terms of value for money,” he said, “and for us in terms of the extra butchery work needed in producing crowns.”

The trend is translating into additional revenues for UK turkey companies, including Kelly and most processors were planning to finish holiday bird processing by the weekend of Dec. 16.

“Our sales are very strong with web sales up ten percent and farm gate sales up eight percent,” he said “The turkeys have all grown very big this year with all small 4- and 5-kg. turkeys in great demand. I guess a mild, dry autumn and good quality wheat are the reasons why.”