For many people, Thanksgiving is not a feast without a basted, dressed turkey. While the bird might be the star of the table, the reality is that the perfect turkey does not magically appear with the wave of a wand. The food supply chain needs to work in tandem to get poultry into people’s homes. Although the old phrase about “the chicken or the egg” might seem trite, without the perfect timing of that turkey egg hatching, letting it grow to the perfect size, and getting it ready for slaughter, a Thanksgiving dinner might not be possible.
As shared in a New York Post article, Daniel Romanoff, president of Bronx-based meat distributor Nebraskaland, said, “It’s a very precise schedule to get the turkey to the size of 14 pounds or less.” With disruptions to meat processing plants, and staffing affected by COVID-19, the companies are struggling to fill the consumer demand for the smaller size, fresh turkeys. Plus, more people will be hosting Thanksgiving this year than last year now that we’ve come farther ahead in the fight against the pandemic.
“What consumers have told us up to this point is they are very excited about celebrating Thanksgiving, and they are committed to doing so with a turkey at the center of the table, so turkeys could be tight this year,” Christa Leupen, public relations manager for Butterball, told Food & Wine.
Although the magazine reports that larger, frozen turkeys may not be impacted, some consumers may not want that option. Between the thawing and the cooking, that larger bird could be more intimidating to cook. Then again, maybe everyone will be grateful to enjoy a holiday meal together with a good amount of leftovers that they can eat up in the days after T Day.