Similar to what Costco did eliminating the sales of sheet cakes during the pandemic major grocery store chains are doing the same.
The largest grocery chains in the country Giant Eagle, Stew Leonards’s and Walmart are ordering smaller birds.
“The buying arms of the major retailers and distributors are definitely trying to slant their purchases toward smaller turkeys,” said Russ Whitman, senior vice president at Urner Barry, a commodity market research firm. That also means buying more hens, which are smaller, and fewer toms, or male birds, he said.
Normally, 40 million turkeys are eaten around Thanksgiving and distributors don’t expect that to change.
“Our research does suggest that smaller birds will be in higher demand,” said Tom Windish, Managing Director of Retail for Cargill’s North American protein business, in an emailed statement. Cargill, a major meat producer, sells turkey under the Honeysuckle White, Shady Brook Farms and Honest Turkey brands.
Stew Leonard Jr., the chief executive of Stew Leonard’s grocery chain in the Northeast said that he’s ordering more birds that are less than 16 pounds and will shrink the size of shrimp and sushi platters.
In addition, farmers are “going to be doing different items like turkey breasts and smaller hams,” Hopkins said, “to give folks plenty of options if they’re looking for something a little bit smaller for their holiday.”
So if you are low risk and don’t want the coronavirus to dominate your life, I hope you don’t want a big turkey.
Farmers were expecting the change and began harvesting and preparing earlier.
One Pennsylvania Farm announced they are playing ball. Brock Stein, president of Lewistown Valley Enterprises, which operates Koch’s Turkey Farm said they are going about as business is usual.
“No one really has the crystal ball yet,” he said. “We’re going to have to just be hopeful that even if families are at smaller gatherings they’ll still be looking for a larger bird.”