Holiday season

The big turkeys are back for a Thanksgiving IRL ⋆ 4State News MO AR KS OK

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Thanksgiving 2021 may look a lot more like a normal holiday than it did last year – many Americans have been vaccinated and restrictions have loosened across the country. gatherings than last year. So they stock up on larger turkeys – 18 to 24 pounds – compared to last year’s smaller ones of 12 to 14 pounds. at IRI, which advises grocers on their meat strategies. Turkeys take around 26 weeks to grow, he said, so companies order turkeys from suppliers early in the year. This year, grocers are forecasting Thanksgiving turkey orders with “the anticipation that might be about to disappear.” The delta variant wasn’t even there. Bristol Farms, a Californian grocery chain, ordered its turkeys in February and March as it “was banking on a return to normal,” said Steve Howard, vice president of merchandising. Last year Bristol Farms had a ratio of about five to one from small fresh birds – those that weigh 12 pounds – to the larger ones, which weigh 18 pounds and over. It was reversed this year. “We’re going to lean back on a bigger bird,” he said. “We are expecting a strong season as families come together again in larger groups. The company is also planning larger orders for prepared sides like stuffing and potatoes. Sam’s Club offers the same size range of turkeys as last year – 10 to 24 pound birds – but it plans store more heavier turkeys, 18-lb turkeys and more this year. Last year, Sam’s Club also downsized sides such as mashed sweet potatoes in anticipation of small gatherings. This year, most of the teams have returned to their larger portions before the pandemic. “Our members told us they were ready to celebrate the holidays in a big way,” Warehouse Club spokesperson Erin Hulliberger said in an email. Kroger surveyed 400 of its shoppers from April 6 to 12, when its teams started planning for Thanksgiving, and found that 42% planned to meet with more people compared to last year, a porter said. speech in an email. The company also expects more people to trade this year for more expensive turkeys and purchase additional options such as bone-in breast turkey. Kroger therefore sources top quality turkeys and specialty items. with their age at slaughter, explained Brock Stein, president of Koch’s Turkey Farm, based in Tamaqua, Pa., which sells to high-end grocery stores. To weigh down a turkey, farmers usually let it live longer, Stein said. The reverse is true for a lighter turkey. Koch’s tries to offer a range of sizes, between about 10 to 30 pounds in two pound increments, for options of 10, 12, 14 pounds and so on. at 20 weeks, probably for a size larger, ”he said. In general, he noted, people serve a pound per person, so anything bigger would probably be too much for a typical consumer. At Koch, the growing season begins around June. But orders usually don’t start arriving until October. This means that if demand is different from Koch’s forecast, the team must make “on-the-fly” adjustments, like slaughter schedules, he said. Another tip is to adjust the diet of the turkeys. “We don’t use growth hormones or steroids or anything like that since we’re all natural and organic,” he said. So when it comes to food, “our only tool in our toolbox is to change a diet formula between wheat, soy and corn,” he explained. But often, “you have to face what you are being treated. You cannot totally change mother nature. Another unpredictable factor that impacts the size of the turkey? Weather report. Birds gain weight when it’s cold and stay thinner when it’s hot, Stein said. It’s more difficult when the temperature soars. Koch’s may delay the slaughter to a point, but he “can’t wait until it’s too late because we have to make our deliveries,” he said. Sometimes the size of a turkey is decided by the logistics. Cargill, which offers turkey under the Honeysuckle White, Shady Brook and Honest Turkey brands, sells slightly larger birds this season. But that has nothing to do with deliberate planning to meet demand. Instead, the larger size is actually the result of another unexpected factor: supply chain disruptions. This year, “average bird weights are slightly higher for fresh and frozen birds due to processing delays,” said Daniel Sullivan, company spokesperson, in an email. “The bigger birds are due to the birds being fed longer than usual. ”

Thanksgiving 2021 may look a lot more like a normal holiday than it did last year – many Americans have been vaccinated and restrictions have loosened across the country.

And that means the bigger turkeys are back too.

Grocery chains and retail analysts expect people to hold bigger rallies than last year. So they stock up on larger turkeys – 18 to 24 pounds – compared to the smaller 12 to 14 pounds last year.

“Everyone expects big gatherings and bigger birds,” said Chris DuBois, senior vice president for protein practice at IRI, who consults with grocers on their meat strategies. Turkeys take about 26 weeks to mature, he said, so companies order turkeys from their suppliers at the start of the year. This year, grocers are forecasting Thanksgiving turkey orders with “the anticipation that [COVID-19] may be endangered. The delta variant wasn’t even there.

Bristol Farms, a Californian grocery chain, ordered its turkeys in February and March, as it “was banking on a return to normal,” said Steve Howard, vice president of merchandising. Last year Bristol Farms had a ratio of about five to one from small fresh birds – those that weigh 12 pounds – to the larger ones, which weigh 18 pounds and over. It’s reversed this year.

“We’re going to lean back on a bigger bird,” he said. “We are expecting a strong season as families come together again in larger groups. The company is also planning larger orders for prepared sides like stuffing and potatoes.

Sam’s Club has the same size range of turkeys as last year – 10 to 24 pound birds – but it plans to stock more turkeys that are 18 pounds and above heavier this year. Last year, Sam’s Club also downsized sides such as mashed sweet potatoes in anticipation of small gatherings. This year, most camps have returned to their larger portions before the pandemic.

“Our members told us [they’re] ready to celebrate the holidays in a big way, ”said Erin Hulliberger, spokesperson for the warehouse club, in an email.

Kroger surveyed 400 of its shoppers from April 6 to 12, when its teams started planning for Thanksgiving, and found that 42% planned to meet with more people compared to last year, a porter said. speech in an email. The company also expects more people to trade in for more expensive turkeys this year and purchase additional options such as bone-in breast turkey, so Kroger is stocking up on premium turkeys and premium items. speciality.

The complicated case of how to size turkeys

The size of turkeys generally corresponds to their age at slaughter, explained Brock Stein, president of Koch’s Turkey Farm, based in Tamaqua, Pa., Which sells to high-end grocery stores.

To weigh down a turkey, farmers usually let it live longer, Stein said. The reverse is true for a lighter turkey.

Koch’s tries to offer a range of sizes, between about 10 to 30 pounds in two pound increments, for options of 10, 12, 14 pounds and so on.

“You are considering an age of 18-20 weeks, probably for a size larger,” he said. In general, he noted, people serve a pound per person, so anything larger than that would likely be too much for a typical consumer.

At Koch’s, the growing season begins around June. But orders usually don’t start arriving until October. This means that if demand is different from Koch’s forecast, the team must make “on-the-fly” adjustments, like slaughter schedules, he said. Another tip is to adjust the diet of the turkeys.

“We don’t use growth hormones or steroids or anything like that since we’re all natural and organic,” he said. So when it comes to food, “our only tool in our toolbox is to change a diet formula between wheat, soy and corn,” he explained. But often, “you have to face what you are being treated. You cannot totally change mother nature.

Another unpredictable factor that influences the size of the turkey? Time.

The birds gain weight when it’s cold and stay thinner when it’s hot, Stein said.

“If there’s a cold snap and the birds are averaging too much, you can kind of go up the timeline,” he said. It’s more difficult when the temperature soars. Koch’s may delay the slaughter to a point, but he “can’t wait until it’s too late because we have to make our deliveries,” he said.

Sometimes the size of a turkey is decided by the logistics. Cargill, which offers turkey under the Honeysuckle White, Shady Brook and Honest Turkey brands, sells slightly larger birds this season. But that has nothing to do with deliberate planning to meet demand. Instead, the larger size is actually the result of another unexpected factor: supply chain disruptions.

This year, “the average bird weights are slightly higher for fresh and frozen birds due to [to] delays in processing, ”said Daniel Sullivan, spokesperson for the company, in an email. “The bigger birds are due to the birds being fed longer than usual. ”

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