Bernard Matthews’ consumer trust plummets

Bernard Matthews is facing a greater consumer backlash over its handling of the bird flu outbreak than the outcry that followed criticism of its Turkey Twizzler products being included on schools’ menus last year.

Figures from YouGov show that confidence in the brand has plummeted even lower than when criticism of Turkey Twizzlers was at its highest.

Although the food company has already culled 160,000 turkeys after an outbreak of the HN51 strain of avian flu at its Suffolk meat plant, consumer confidence has been rocked by its delay in discovering the outbreak and alerting the authorities. Bernard Matthews is ranked as the UK’s 12th-biggest food brand, with 2006 sales worth about £300m (TNS World Panel) and supermarkets are already reporting a dip in sales.

However, branding expert Jonathan Gabay says all is not lost for the brand.

“The Bernard Matthews case is unique,” he says. “First, apart from a single swan, it is the first outbreak of avian flu in the UK. And second, the Bernard Matthews case involves unpreventable natural causes.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here