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Turkey remains a year-round favorite

More consumers choosing turkey as popularity grows for heritage, natural and organic varieties

Thanksgiving means turkey time for millions of Americans. The vast majority (88%) of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey on Thanksgiving, but make no mistake, turkey is no mere one-holiday wonder. For instance, turkey is also a popular main course during Christmas and Easter celebrations.

Even beyond the holidays and special occasions, turkey is being consumed during everyday meals for many Americans, market research firm Packaged Facts noted in the report, "Meat & Poultry: U.S. Retail Market Trends & Opportunities."

Packaged Facts estimates total retail dollar sales of the U.S. meat and poultry market at $95 billion. With sales of $27 billion, poultry — including chicken, turkey, duck, geese and quail — accounts for 28% of the market. Between 2011 and 2016, sales of turkey products in the U.S. meat and poultry market had a compound annual growth rate of almost 8%.

“We’ve seen an uptick in turkey consumption volume as consumers increasingly choose this product as a lean white meat alternative to chicken for non-holiday meals,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Strong retail sales growth of turkey products is occurring amid a "premiumization" trend for refrigerated and frozen products, driven in part by the growing popularity of heritage, natural and organic turkeys. Another factor supporting consumption growth is the increasing availability of turkey-based products that mimic their beef- or pork-based counterparts, such as turkey bacon, turkey burgers and turkey sausages, Packaged Facts explained.

Further, the firm said the value-added nature of processed turkey products contributed to dollar sales growth.

This piece originally appeared on Feedstuffs, a Supermarket News sister website.

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