Beyond Thanksgiving Turkey Sales Climb

Turkey is growing in popularity thanks in part to the growing popularity of heritage, natural and organic turkeys.

Turkey sales are growing, and not just because of Thanksgiving.

The vast majority (88%) of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey on Thanksgiving. But make no mistake, turkey is no mere one holiday wonder. For instance, turkey is also a popular main course during Christmas and Easter celebrations.

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Even beyond the holidays and special occasions, turkey has begun to take flight during everyday meals for many Americans, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in the report, “Meat & Poultry: U.S. Retail Market Trends & Opportunities.”

Packaged Facts estimates total retail dollar sales of the U.S. meat and poultry market at $95 billion. With sales of $27 billion, poultry—including chicken, turkey, duck, geese, and quail—accounts for 28% of the market. Between 2011 and 2016 sales of turkey products in the U.S. meat and poultry market had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 8%.

“We’ve seen an uptick in turkey consumption volume as consumers increasing choose this product as a lean white meat alternative to chicken for non-holiday meals,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Strong retail sales growth of turkey products is occurring amid a premiumization trend for refrigerated and frozen products, driven in part by the growing popularity of heritage, natural and organic turkeys. Another factor supporting consumption growth is the increasing availability of turkey-based products that mimic their beef- or pork-based counterparts, such as turkey bacon, turkey burgers, and turkey sausages.

Amid health warnings over the risks associated with red meats many consumers sought poultry-based versions of these foods, and turkey is generally more amenable to processing than chicken. The value-added nature of processed turkey products contributed to dollar sales growth.