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Thanksgiving Demand For Turkey Remains High

Turkey is on the Thanksgiving menu for many families.

Darren Ference is chair of Turkey Farmers of Canada. He runs a turkey operation north of Edmonton.

"Thanksgiving is one of our major markets for our whole bird piece of the market. We sell about 36 per cent of all our whole bird turkeys during the Thanksgiving season, which equates to about 2.5 million whole bird turkeys," he said. "The number has been fairly steady over all of the years. It has had some slight declines in the last few years as people change to either smaller turkeys or there's some movement to a turkey roast, which is a wrapped whole white-meat product. There's a little bit of changing as we move into smaller families."

Last year, Christmas had the most sales, with about 41 per cent, or 2.9 million whole bird turkeys being sold.

Ference says when the pandemic first hit, there was a large decrease in the food service part of the market. He notes they adjusted the market at that time to accommodate for that. Since then it has picked back up. Thanksgiving last year was 13 per cent higher than the previous year and Easter was also higher than the previous year with the pandemic. Christmas stayed about level.

Frozen stocks were lower on September 1 of this year, according to Ference, however he doesn't expect to see any shortages. He says they had an increase in production in June, which should be bringing a lot of fresh turkey into the market for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.

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