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Turkey Group Says Thanksgiving Shortage Is Limited

WASHINGTON — The National Turkey Federation said the Butterball shortage of large fresh birds will only impact a small portion of the overall Thanksgiving turkey supply.

On Wednesday Big Y announced that Butterball would only be able to fill 50% of its orders for fresh turkeys that are 16 pounds and larger. 

However, the National Turkey Federation said that most Thanksgiving turkeys are bought frozen.


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“If you look at the industry, 85% of the whole bird turkeys — what we eat at Thanksgiving — is frozen, flash frozen. And it is available in all sizes and in all the brands. Those have been ready, plentiful and stocked in the grocery stores,” said Keith Williams, spokesperson, National Turkey Federation.

“That leaves 15% of the market for fresh turkeys and if you think about it there’s going to be a portion of that 15% that’s going by any one particular company.”

Williams said that frozen turkey is the same quality as fresh, but Butterball wanted to let customers know they need to plan to thaw the bird a few days before Thanksgiving. Consumers can get tips for turkey preparation on the National Turkey Federation's website or on Butterball’s Thanksgiving hotline, (888) 306-1441.

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