Economists: The turkey industry is becoming less dependent on whole bird sales

Recent High Pathogenic Avian Flu cases are not expected to have much of an impact on Thanksgiving turkey availability or their prices. USDA livestock analysts say the industry is becoming less dependent on those whole bird sales.

“The turkey industry has diversified in terms of providing more products, either in the sense of ground turkey meat as an option to typical ground beef or ground pork. They’ve made inroads in terms of providing turkey products for the deli case. So to some extent the whole bird that we normally think of as you know, being that center item for turkey producers, has diminished somewhat over time. We’ve also seen, you know as families have gotten smaller, our folks are moving to breast meat, the whole breast is an option, So there has been you know the typical whole hen turkey that we normally would think of as being the Thanksgiving driver of the turkey industry has become less, but it’s still very important,” said Shayle Shagam.

Earlier this month, USDA lowered their poultry production estimates. Turkeys are now down 48 million pounds, holding at 5.5 billion for the year.

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