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Turkey Twizzlers set for healthier comeback

Three year-old Reign Thornton and a statue of a Turkey Twizzler

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PA Media

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A 3m statue of a Turkey Twizzler was unveiled at Bernard Matthews’ head office Great Witchingham Hall in Norwich

Jamie Oliver beware: the Turkey Twizzler is back, in what its makers claim is a new, healthier version.

The celebrity chef was instrumental in the Twizzlers’ demise when he called them bad for children’s health during a TV campaign for better school dinners.

After the Jamie’s Dinners series in 2005, school meals contractors dropped them and they were discontinued.

But now Bernard Matthews is relaunching the controversial product with double the turkey meat of the original.

The new Turkey Twizzlers will go on sale from Thursday in two flavours, Original Tangy Tomato and Chilli Cheese.

The company said it would like the product to go into schools eventually.

“We have been discussing the return of the Twizzler for some time,” said the firm’s marketing director, David Leigh.

He added: “Obviously we’d like the product to go into schools, but for the minute, we’ve focused on going into what I guess you’d call mass market retail.”

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Bernard Matthews

Mr Leigh said the old Turkey Twizzler was just 34% meat and had 137 kcal, while the new version was 70% meat and had 87 kcal.

“If you look at our product now and let’s say you compared, say, two pork sausages to two Twizzlers, there’s 83% more saturated fat in two average pork sausages compared to two Twizzlers.

“So we have spent a lot of time making sure that we are delivering a healthy, a significantly healthier, product than it was before. It is very much a different product.”

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Getty Images

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Jamie Oliver was not a fan of the Turkey Twizzler

As for the other 30% of the new Turkey Twizzler, Mr Leigh claimed it was “mainly a blend of herbs and spices”.

“It is crucial for us that it is a really flavoursome product that people enjoy eating and it complements the high-protein content you normally get in turkey,” he said.

Mr Leigh said Bernard Matthews had worked with a nutritionist to make sure the new Twizzler was “a really balanced product” and could be eaten as “part of a balanced meal”.

Mr Oliver has been contacted for comment.

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