Today’s consumer recognizes turkey’s nutritional value and enjoys turkey year-round – not just during the holidays. The turkey industry has developed from a single-product, holiday-oriented market to a year-round, diversified and value-added product line. Increasingly, turkey products are marketed in a variety of ways and serve as a staple for health-conscious consumers.
Turkey by the Numbers highlights trends in turkey production and consumption as well as key export markets for U.S. turkey products. For additional statistics about the U.S. turkey industry, visit USDA’s Turkey Sector page.
Turkey consumption has nearly doubled since 1970 (8.2 pounds per capita), as consumer education and awareness of the nutritional value and taste of turkey products continue to increase. For instance, ground turkey has seen a significant increase in popularity as a nutrient-rich, lower fat substitute for ground beef.
In 2018, U.S. consumption of turkey was 5.3 billion pounds and 16.2 pounds per person.
The United States is the world’s largest turkey producer and largest exporter of turkey products.
With the value added to turkey through processing into a wide variety of cuts, parts and further processed products, turkey production in the United States has increased to meet consumer demand as more people choose turkey. In 2018, U.S. total turkey production was tallied at 244.8 million birds raised, equating to 5.88 billion pounds.
According to USDA, the top turkey producing states are Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, Iowa and California.
The U.S. turkey industry currently exports more than 10 percent of its products, and trade remains a market segment with growth potential for the industry.
The ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in 2020 was a significant success for the turkey industry, fortifying two critical relationships with Mexico and Canada. Mexico is by far the largest export market for U.S. turkey products. Since 2014, the U.S. has exported 3.1 billion pounds of turkey meat globally. Of that, 1.9 billion pounds have gone to Mexico, amounting to nearly 390 million pounds in 2019.
The expansion of U.S. turkey products to foreign markets not only benefits the economy, but also sustains thousands of American jobs and allows turkey producers to provide a healthful, nutritious protein option to people around the world. NTF continues to identify markets of interest and plays a significant role in building relationships and securing trade opportunities in the global marketplace.