A COVID-19 Thanksgiving trend? Families bypassing big turkeys

Despite pandemic gathering restrictions set to hamper large Thanksgiving bashes, farmers are “cautiously optimistic” families will still gobble up turkeys this year, albeit smaller ones.

“We have seen strong orders for this festive,” said Brian Ricker, chair of the Turkey Farmers of Ontario. “The demand has probably been just as firm as it has been other years.”

Still, Ricker said what consumers want on the holiday table is changing. Out are the big turkeys that could feed a crowd, with consumers opting for smaller birds, turkey parts, or roasts and rolls.

Just because turkeys are being ordered and processed doesn’t necessarily mean the sales will be as high at stores and butcher shops, Ricker said.

“It’s a little quieter . . . (turkey orders) are slowing down a little bit,” said Bob McKeon with Chris’s Country Cuts at Covent Garden Market. “We’re selling more small turkeys than larger ones.”

Thanksgiving typically accounts for 40 per cent of small bird sales.

Christmas is another busy season, and Ricker said the orders are there, so long as processing plants can maintain capacity and avoid COVID-19 outbreaks.

Most of Ontario’s turkey processing plants are in rural Southwestern Ontario – Dashwood, Mitchell, Hanover – which have managed to stave off the second wave, Ricker said.

But even if Thanksgiving offers a slight rebound for turkey farmers, he said it will be a long way back to reaching pre-pandemic levels.

There’s been a massive decrease in demand for turkey deli products — an item commonly used in work and school lunches — since the pandemic began.

With demand for those cold cuts dropping by about 70 per cent, Ontario cut turkey production 17 per cent, and nationwide seven per cent.

“It really hurt us,” Ricker said. “We hope to see a rebound for next year, but it’s just really pretty early to tell.”

Football news:

Bernardo Silva: If Manchester City could get Mbappe, it would be nice
Bartomeu responded to Pique: it is not True that Barcelona spent money on criticizing players in social networks. The audit confirms this
Rafael Leau on 3-3 with Roma: Milan did everything to win, I'm disappointed. Ibra is an example for all of us
Son Heung-Min led the Premier League Goalscorers with 8 goals in 6 games. 7 of them are from Kane's passes
Conte on Shakhtar's level: You can't accidentally score three goals for Real Madrid. This is a strong team
Barca fans believed in the early departure of Bartomeu (due to disputes over the date of the referendum). In vain: there were no thoughts of retirement, the trophies are somewhere near
Josep Bartomeu: I had no intention of resigning. Barca will have trophies this season