Turkey becomes increasingly popular in U.S. market

December 21, 2012

It is well known that when it comes to poultry sales, chicken rules the roost, but as the holidays approach, could it be time for turkey to gobble up a bigger share of the U.S. market? According to new research from Mintel on the U.S. poultry market, it just might be as sales of turkey, duck, and other specialty birds, grew a considerable 6.5% in just one year, reaching $7.1 billion (2011–12).

Growing from $6 billion in 2008, other poultry products, largely consisting of turkey, grew the most in this category. Moreover, more than eight in 10 (84%) Americans say they eat turkey; chicken is eaten by 94% and other poultry, such as duck, goose, and hen, are consumed by 23% of the population.

Today, poultry in the United States is valued at $30 billion (2012), with chicken parts accounting for 58% of the total poultry market. Worth $17.3 billion in 2011, sales of chicken parts grew 4.5% year on year. Meanwhile, whole chickens had sales of $5.5 billion in 2012, an increase of 0.6% over 2011.

“The growth of other poultry products over 2011 and 2012 is partly attributed to the increasing popularity of Heritage turkeys, which are bigger, take longer to reach maturity, and sell for more than standard turkeys,” said John N. Frank, Category Manager for Mintel Food and Drink. “However, if other poultry products, like turkey, want to continue their impressive growth and not just be seen as the festive centerpiece, they will need to provide the level of innovation that is being seen in the chicken parts segment. As for the poultry market as a whole, it’s not surprising that chicken parts make up the majority of sales—they represent an attractive option for shoppers who want a convenient and healthy choice for quick dinners, while whole chickens take a substantial amount of time to prepare and culinary know-how.”

Poultry in general might also start pulling in some consumers from the red meat market. Nearly four in 10 (38%) U.S. consumers say they have increased their consumption of poultry in the last year, peaking among younger adults, with 43% of those aged 18–24 eating more versus 36% of the most senior consumers (ages 65+).

Mintel poultry report