Bernard Matthews to rebrand and focus on British roots

LONDON - Bernard Matthews is planning to rebrand itself, adding the word 'Farms' to its name, and focus on British-sourced products, in a bid to recover from the damage to its reputation from last year's bird flu outbreak and the Turkey Twizzler row.

The company said that it was going back to its agricultural roots in Norfolk and that all of its Bernard Matthews branded turkey products would be made with 100% British turkey from its farms.

It also plans to launch a frozen product range made from British turkey breast called the Big Green Tick.

The group said that all of its new products would contain lower levels of saturated fats and salt and no artificial colours and flavours.

Bernard Matthews fell £9.6m into the red last year after suffering a consumer backlash following an outbreak of bird flu at one of its East Anglian farms.

Noel Bartram, chief executive of Bernard Matthews, said: "This repositioning of the company is the result of extensive planning with 2007 having been an exceptionally difficult year."

The poultry brand also came under fire in 2005 because of the fat content of its Turkey Twizzlers. The Twizzlers were banned from school dinner menus following Jamie Oliver's campaign for healthier meals.

Bernard Matthews Farms will launch a new ad campaign in the autumn to promote the company's new products and branding. In June it appointed Isobel to handle its advertising account, estimated at £3m.