Is there anything more beautiful, more precious, than low-quality meat reformulated into breaded spirals? The Turkey Twizzler—a childhood favourite—was removed from school canteens in 2005 following pressure from chef Jamie Oliver in his Channel 4 documentary, Jamie’s School Dinners. Manufacturer Bernard Matthews agreed to stop supplying schools and discontinued the controversial snack later that year, leaving us with a corkscrew-shaped hole in our hearts.
So unnatural was the Turkey Twizzler that it became almost myth-like in its legacy. In 2018, many will wonder, did we really mush 34-percent turkey meat into curly shapes and feed it to eight-year-olds?
Plot twist! We may not have seen the end of twizzled turkey. A petition to bring back Turkey Twizzlers has garnered over 11,000 signatures on Change.org, marking a potential return for the frozen food. The campaign, launched by mum Kirsty Rogers at the end of last year, is only 4,000 signatures off its target of 15,000, after gaining traction in the last 24 hours.
According to Rogers, the thought of her kids missing out on the spiralled delight is what prompted her to create the campaign. She writes on the petition: “I used to live off Turkey Twizzlers; used to make sure my mum stocked up lol. But to think my kids will never experience the taste of them makes me want to get this petition as far as possible.”
Rogers signs off with an impassioned plea: “So come on u Twizzlers, lovers get signing :).”
Turkey Twizzlers might have been villainised by some health campaigners but Priya Tew, a dietician from Dietitian UK and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, believes that they can be consumed in moderation.
“While Turkey Twizzlers are not the best of foods to be eating regularly,” she told MUNCHIES over email, “all foods can be included into a balanced diet when eaten in sensible frequencies and amounts.”
Tew agreed, however, that Twizzlers should not be part of children’s school lunches. She continued: “For some children, a cooked school meal is the best meal they have all day, so ensuring it is nutritious and provides the best content is important."
Rogers isn’t the first to stage an online campaign for the return of a beloved food item. In 2017, a man spent a year trying to get KFC Singapore to bring back his favourite dish (Hot Devil Drumlets, RIP), while US hot dog chain Portillo's reintroduced a lemon cake to its menu after one Redditor used the platform to source its recipe.
Will Bernard Matthews be as receptive to Rogers and her army of Twizzler-lovers as KFC or Portillo’s? We reached out to the company but did not receive a response at the time of publishing.
It is also unclear how Oliver would react to the Twizzler’s return. With a number of Jamie’s Italians going into administration earlier this year, the comeback of Oliver’s meat-based nemesis is probably the last thing he needs. MUNCHIES contacted the chef, but he was unavailable for comment.
What is clear is that the masses will not be silenced. The revolution has begun, and the people are hungry for change.
And Twizzlers. Many, many Turkey Twizzlers.