Industry Structure

Overview

Today’s consumer recognizes turkey’s nutritional value and good taste and enjoys turkey year-round, not just during the holidays. In 2017 U.S. consumption of turkey was 16.4 pounds per person. U.S. growers raised 242.5 million turkeys in 2017.

Structure

Turkey companies are vertically integrated, meaning they control or contract for all phases of production and processing – from breeding through delivery to retail. By maintaining control over research, hatching, growing, feeding, processing, packaging, transportation and marketing, the industry is able to produce wholesome, safe, high-quality products at the lowest possible cost to the consumer.

Top 10 Turkey Producing States in 2017*

Minnesota
North Carolina
Arkansas
Indiana
Missouri
Virginia
Iowa
California
Pennsylvania
Ohio

*FROM POULTRY PRODUCTION AND VALUE 2017 SUMMARY, USDA, NASS APRIL 2018

Butterball, LLC1,355.0
Jennie-O Turkey Store, Inc.1,215.0
Cargill Turkey & Cooked Meats1,000.0
Farbest Foods, Inc.600.0
Kraft Heinz Company365.0
Tyson Foods349.0
Perdue Farms284.0
Virginia Poultry Growers Coop. 275.0
Cooper Farms271.0
Hain Pure Protein241.0
West Liberty Foods, LLC235.56
Foster Farms218.7
Michigan Turkey Producers210.0
Dakota Provisions200.0
Turkey Valley Farms178.0
Norbest, LLC144.0
Prestage Farms 140
Zacky & Sons Poultry (dba Zacky Farms)82.96
Northern Pride Turkey45.0
White Water Processing Co.30.0
Koch’s Turkey Farm19.42
Jaindl Turkey Sales, Inc.11.0

Liveweight Processed (Million Pounds)*
Estimates for 2017 from March 2018 Watt Poultry, USA

The turkey industry directly employs over 100,000 people in the United States. Tens of thousands more are employed in related industries, such as contract growing, product distribution, equipment manufacturing and a wide variety of other affiliated services.

Distribution

Many turkey products are tailor-made for today’s consumers who live fast-paced lifestyles and who demand products that taste great, are healthful and easy to prepare. As a result, turkey products are available in several different ways. Ground turkey has experienced the largest sales growth among consumers in the last decade. The top three turkey products sold in 2014 were whole birds, ground turkey, and cooked white meat (deli meat). Raw products, especially breast cutlets and wings, are also seeing an increase in sales. 

Consumer Trends

Turkey consumption has nearly doubled over the past 30 years. Consumers are recognizing the health benefits of turkey as a low-fat, high-protein source, not to mention its wonderful taste and cooking versatility. The Southern tradition of deep frying turkeys has gained in popularity in the last few years. This process seals the outside while the interior remains very juicy and the skin develops a crisp texture. Grilling turkey is fast, fun and convenient with turkey tenderloins, steaks, boneless breasts and drumsticks readily available.

While the holiday whole turkey and the all-American turkey sandwich always will have a special place in consumers’ hearts, Americans are enjoying an ever-widening variety of turkey products throughout the year.