How he made his pile

Bernard Matthews, Chairman, Bernard Matthews Ltd. Who is he? The man who convinced Britain that a turkey wasn't just for Christmas

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Who is he? The man who convinced Britain that a turkey wasn't just for Christmas, Matthews launched his company in 1950 with an investment of £2.50. This paid for an incubator and 20 turkey eggs, and made him £9.Now 75, he is worth £306 million and his family owns 98.8% of the business.

How did he make his millions? The 'bootiful' slogan of 1979 was a phenomenon, helping Matthews sell £2 million-worth of turkey breast roasts in eight days. Today, only 3.5% of sales come from oven-ready turkeys compared with 90% before the ad, and the Matthews brand is the ninth-biggest in the UK.

The secret of his success? Matthews says he was 'born lucky'. He has certainly been helped by circumstance - poultry profit soared during the foot-and-mouth scare - but he's also a tough and shrewd business player whose knack for homespun marketing is backed by an unrivalled knowledge of those ill-fated birds.

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