Recently, one of my friends, a culinary extraordinaire, asked me a simple but complicated question: “Why can I only find 20 pound turkeys at the grocery store when I am only cooking for two?” Even though I didn’t have an informed answer at the time, I knew I could find the information. And so I went to the experts — the National Turkey Federation. Beth Breeding, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the federation, provided great insights on finding the right size turkey for Thanksgiving and any other holiday meals to come.
According to Beth, there are two main reasons contributing to availability of bird sizes this year:
1. First and foremost, supply chain challenges have had a relatively significant impact on transportation and distribution. It could be a matter of what the retailer has available to them right now, or what shipments have been able to get to them from the warehouse. On the other side of the equation, there be greater demand locally for a smaller turkey. If there is a specific size of turkey consumers are looking for, the National Turkey Federation encourages them to check with local retailers to find out when those sizes will be available.
2. In addition to supply chain issues, labor challenges also have resulted in changes in capacity for some processors. While this is not the case across the board, some turkeys may have been on the farm an extra day or two. To clarify, this may result in a slightly larger turkey, but it does not pose any health issues for the turkeys.
And to ease our minds on finding the right size turkey in the coming weeks, Beth stated, “The stores will most likely be getting other sizes and types of turkey (fresh turkeys) in as the holiday draws closer, and we expect consumers in general will be able to find a variety of turkey products. We do not anticipate a shortage of turkeys, so consumers who want a turkey for their Thanksgiving table should be able to find one.”
Finally, if your local grocery store has a good deal on turkeys but you think it’s too large, think leftovers! “There’s nothing wrong with buying a turkey larger than you need. That just means more opportunities for leftovers,” Beth says. For one who values leftover turkey, I agree. If you need inspiration for post-Thanksgiving meals visit http://www.eattturkey.org/leftovers.
P.S Beth says, “The turkey egg rolls are amazing!” Enjoy!