Turkey Twizzlers are back on the menu - but how has Jamie Oliver reacted?

Monday, 17th August 2020, 8:59 am
Updated Monday, 17th August 2020, 8:59 am
(Photo: Bernard Matthews)
(Photo: Bernard Matthews)

Infamous school dinner staple Turkey Twizzlers are making a comeback, 15 years after they were banned following concerns they were encouraging obesity in children.

The notorious lunch time snacks were barred from school dinners after being targeted by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in his TV show Jamie's School Dinners, which revealed their high fat and sugar content.

But manufacturer Bernard Matthews has now reworked the formula to reflect a more health conscious era.

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What's changed?

Bernard Matthews says the new Turkey Twizzlers recipe is healthier, but intended to be just as tasty as it was in the noughties.

The product's distinctive corkscrew shape remains, with the original Twizzler machines having been recommissioned to recreate the same spiralling design.

They are also now available in two flavours - Original Tangy Tomato, and Chilli Cheese.

"Turkey Twizzlers have listened to the public and completely transformed themselves into a much-improved product," said nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker.

The revamped Twizzlers now have a nutritional profile consumers can be "confident in", and are "high in good quality protein and lower in fat, saturates, salt and sugar."

Bernard Matthews are still recommending fans pair the returning Twizzlers with "plenty of veg such as a corn on the cob and broccoli" to "create a balanced meal.”

Where can I buy them?

(Photo: Bernard Matthews)

The revamped Turkey Twizzlers will be available across all major supermarkets, starting with Iceland, from 20 August.

They'll be found in the frozen aisle, and come with a recommended retail price of £3 for a pack of eight.

Why were Turkey Twizzlers banned in 2005?

The original version of the food product was made up of 40 ingredients including pork fat, rusk and coating with only a third (34 per cent) being made up of turkey meat.

Although turkey meat is generally low in saturated fat content and calories in comparison to other meats, even Bernard Matthews admitted their Turkey Twizzlers "nutritional value wasn't fantastic.”

In 2018, one Turkey Twizzler loving mum's petition to reintroduce the fast food snack to schools gained more than 27,000 signatures in support.

Rogers said, "I used to live off Turkey Twizzlers; used to make sure my mum stocked up.

"But to think my kids will never experience the taste of them makes me want to get this petition as far as possible. So come on you Twizzlers lovers, get signing."

What has Jamie Oliver said?

At the time of writing, Jamie Oliver is yet to publicly comment on the return of Turkey Twizzlers. But, other food experts have expressed doubt at the nutritional value of the relaunched product.

“The fact it’s taken Bernard Matthews 15 years to reformulate the Turkey Twizzler shows what a truly terrible product it used to be," said Barbara Crowther of the Children’s Food Campaign.

"Doubling the turkey content still only takes it to 67-70% meat content, and while it’s a healthier version of its former self, it remains an ultra-processed product.

“We recommend sticking to fresh, whole, free-range and/or organic turkey, low-fat, high in protein and with no added sugars at all.”