Manufacturers have much to be thankful for this holiday season — namely a nonexistent turkey shortage that bird flu had threatened to cause.
Here are the key statistics for manufacturers to keep an eye on this Thanksgiving as consumers purchase food for the holiday:
1. For food and beverage categories combined, Thanksgiving week is one of the best-selling weeks in the U.S., with Christmas claiming the top spot, per Nielsen advanced fresh perspective data. On Thanksgiving, 88% of Americans consume turkey — 46 million of them, according to a Clear Food report.
2. These 46 million turkeys have been growing larger — 81%, in fact, from 1960, now more than 30 pounds from 16.83 pounds 55 years ago. Additionally, commercial turkeys make more white meat. This is on purpose, as it's what Americans prefer. Bigger turkeys also mean decreased processing demands, according to The Wall Street Journal.
3. NPR reports Wal-Mart's Butterball turkey will be $17.44 on average, $0.64 less than last year. The wholesale price on frozen tom turkeys (16 to 24 pounds), though, rose from $1.17 per pound to $1.35, according to the USDA's mid-November report. As for classic ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner, an American Farm Bureau survey found a meal for 10 would cost on average $50.11, up slightly from last year’s $49.41.
Here are quick hit data points from Sherry Frey, the senior vice president of Nielsen's Perishable Group:
4. Close to 400 million pounds of turkey sold in November (77% of whole turkeys sold each year are purchased in November) ...
5. ... There's a catch, though: $192 million of gross profit is lost in the month with retailers cutting turkey prices to increase store traffic.
6. Though 88% of people eat turkey on Thanksgiving only 17% of households buy a turkey. The majority of the remaining 73% will buy other items for the holiday.
7. The two-week Thanksgiving sales are mainly consistent with the rest of the year in terms of all food and beverage categories, with the top 10 categories, per volume and sales. A similar trend applies on Halloween, where most of the candy purchased is everyday favorites, just in miniature.
8. From 2010 to 2014, deli dips and spreads had a compound annual growth rate of 8.1% from 2010 to 2014, surpassing pace of all other prepared deli sectors.
9. The week is best-selling for cranberry and sweet potato — 35% of annual cranberry sales happen this holiday week.
10. People are cooking for Thanksgiving but side-stepping the process where they can. Value-added vegetables (side dish, snacking, tray, and meal-prep vegetables), moved from 12th highest-selling produce sector in 2010 up five slots in 2014 during Thanksgiving week.