Talking turkey: what to really expect this year

The markets are signalling another topsy-turvy turkey day this year.

News reports say smaller birds may be pricy and hard to come by again this year, with production and other issues in play. In fact, consumer packaged hen turkeys in wholesale markets as of the first week in October ran more than 10% higher than prices just the month earlier, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), citing USDA-Agriculture Marketing Service reports.

Trade was so limited from mid-August to mid-September that the USDA-AMS was not able to quote a price for hens in its weekly market summary, but price quotations for larger tom turkeys were available, LMIC noted.

Meanwhile, USDA’s Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report for October adjusted both turkey production and ending stocks down, along with turkey exports, but said prices are expected to be higher in both 2021 and 2022 due to supply constraints.

On the consumer side, processors are not taking chances on consumers’ ability to cook the birds to perfection, whatever their size. Butterball introduced its Turkey Talk-Line Taste Kitchen to “inspire hosts to cook with confidence this Thanksgiving,” the largest U.S. producer of turkey products said in a news release.

“While home cooks are excited for the holiday, more than a third of novice Thanksgiving hosts reported lacking the confidence in their hosting abilities,” according to Rebecca Welch, senior brand manager, seasonal business at Garner, N.C.-based Butterball, who cited a recent survey conducted for the company. Recipes, tips and tricks can be found on as well as in video tutorials on social media, including on TikTok, throughout the season.

Baby boomer hosts and others who prefer to go old school still can call the Turkey Talk-Line starting Monday, Nov. 1, at 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372.)

Jennie-O Turkey Store also plans to revive its 1-800-TURKEYS hotline to help people with their holiday meal planning, starting Nov. 1, the Hormel Foods’ subsidiary has announced. Would-be chefs can also text “Turkey” to 73876 or live chat on the Jennie-O website with Jennie-O experts, who will for the first time be available around-the-clock in the days leading up to the food-centric holiday.

While turkey is the featured fare on most Thanksgiving tables, many are intimidated to cook it due to fears it’ll come out dry and overcooked, noted Jennie-O, citing an annual survey. The Willmar, Minn.-based brand is also touting its Jennie-O Oven Ready turkey product that is frozen and pre-seasoned and can go from the freezer into the oven without thawing.

Par : Kate Gibson (20/10/2021)

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Photo : Gabriel Garcia-Marengo (