People Are Talking Turkey This Year. The Conversations Are Mostly Small Talk.

As pandemic restrictions tighten across the U.S., many families are changing the way they’re setting the table for Thanksgiving. Smaller gatherings mean tiny turkeys are flying off the frozen-food shelves. Grocers say they’ve even noticed some customers coming in and focusing entirely on just the breasts.

Turkey farmers, who have been riding the gravy train for years, find themselves suddenly stuck with large leftovers. Some are suggesting families split a turkey and are offering to sell half a bird.

But there is also another “side” to this Thanksgiving dinner story.

Butterball’s Turkey Talkline is already up and running and they say they have noticed an uptick in callers saying it’s their first time cooking for Thanksgiving. Consumer research from both Butterball and Hormel Foods, which together sell most of the more than 40 million turkeys that are eaten on Thanksgiving, suggests that big gatherings will be broken into several smaller ones. That could translate into a run on turkeys.

What will next year bring? Turkey growers say it’s impossible to get fully ahead of the carve, but they are hopeful their birds, both big and small, will be plucked right up.

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