Demand for small turkeys spikes for the coronavirus Thanksgiving
A week before Thanksgiving, the CDC announced that Americans should not celebrate Thanksgiving with people outside their home to prevent travel and gatherings.
Many people are following these precautions, or at least planning smaller celebrations, which means less food and smaller turkeys.
This has put Turkey's supply chain in an interesting position as it tries to figure out how to adjust supply to changing demand.
"We'll manage," Dan Bailey of Bailey Turkey Farm in Lyme, N.H. told Yahoo Finance. "We cut them in half and make breasts. A man called and wanted six legs, drumsticks and thighs and said," We have three people, so two each. "
With the traditional big Thanksgiving gatherings canceled, Bailey and his colleagues need to get creative.
"It's hard to explain today that meat freezes and you can use it to make cakes and anything," he said.
For Bailey, at least, he assumes he will have a demand that is in line with supply, with few birds left.
Frozen turkeys are pictured in a freezer during the coronavirus pandemic in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City, New York, the United States, on November 19, 2020. REUTERS / Carlo Allegri
Turkish farmers usually get their "vacation birds" right on July 1st, and there's not that much a farm can do to ensure the turkeys stay small other than get them later, Bailey said.
On a larger scale, Ariane Daugin, the managing director of D’Artagnan, has also seen the demand for small birds rise.
"We saw a significant reduction in the size of the turkeys!" she wrote in an email. Daugin said the New Jersey-based meat company, which sells a variety of products, forecast the need for smaller birds last April when the turkeys were born and set up for demand six months later.
By Wednesday, D’Artagnan expects 21,000 turkeys to be sold - "many £ 12, many even smaller £ 8". But Daugin said it could be the same total turkey weight it was last year when the company sold 16,000 turkeys with an average weight of 16-18 pounds.
Jay Jandrain, CEO of Butterball, told Yahoo Finance that the company commissioned a survey of 1,004 households in September and found that 75% of respondents would choose the same size as usual - or larger.
"There is a desire for slightly smaller turkeys, but what is important is that most say they are planning the same size or even a larger turkey than last year," said Jandrain of the study.
In addition to the little turkeys, D’Artagnan's Daugin pointed out another unusual change to this Thanksgiving Day - the realization that some households may not be the most suitable bird for a small group.
"Many households have switched to geese (10 to 12 pounds) or ducks (5 to 6 pounds)," she wrote in an email. "We also saw venison and bison loins rise sharply."
Lower prices go hand in hand with lower demand. According to the American Farm Bureau, the average cost of a 10-person Thanksgiving dinner - the standard for measuring - has fallen to its lowest level since 2010, just $ 46.90.
Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance, focusing on consumer affairs, personal finance, retail, airlines, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.
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