Record-setting demand for turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving is keeping pace with supply, according to research by IRI, a data solutions and services firm. 

IRI’s research analysts and clients, which include some of the nation’s leading turkey suppliers and retailers, and partners such as the National Turkey Federation, indicate that there will be an ample supply of turkeys for U.S. consumers this holiday season.

The week ending Nov. 7 saw record-setting levels of whole-bird turkey demand. Including fresh, frozen, as well as new and by-the-pound items, IRI estimates about 50.5 million pounds of whole-bird turkey were sold — 114% more than the same week in 2020. Sales of whole-bird turkey have not been this high three weeks prior to the holiday in any other year. 

“Sales of whole-bird turkeys, including frozen, fresh and both by-the-pound and pre-weighted options, are strong, and our conversations with retailers and suppliers suggest that they expect to have ample turkey options in-stock in the week leading up to Thanksgiving,” said Dr. Krishnakumar ("KK") S. Davey, president of client engagement for IRI. “IRI data continues to show that Thanksgiving turkey sales have been early and elevated nationwide, including record sales for whole-bird turkeys in October and through the first week of November.” 

Despite higher prices in many other grocery items, data suggests that inflation has not impacted the whole-bird turkey sales market. According to IRI data, the average price per pound for whole-bird turkeys in October, including fresh, frozen and by-the-pound items, was down 7 cents compared to October 2020.

For the week ending Nov. 7, the average price per pound for whole-bird turkey — including fresh, frozen and by-the-pound items — was on average 6 cents higher than 2020 and 30 cents per pound higher than 2019 during that same week. However, this was due to the majority of sales occurring without price promotion, which typically happen closer to the Thanksgiving holiday. Data suggests that consumers’ earlier start to the holiday season was not aligned with retailers’ promotional pricing.

Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation, added, “Turkey is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal, and we are confident that there will be plenty of turkeys available this holiday season. No matter how you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, there is a turkey option for your table.”

About IRI
IRI is a fast-growing, leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations, retailers, and financial services and media companies grow their businesses. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated into an on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the personalization revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key constituents and deliver market-leading growth.