Turkey trade hoping their birds fly off the cabinets once more this vacation season



Whereas Thanksgiving gross sales in 2020 went up, this 12 months there are considerations increased costs may dampen gross sales

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Issues weren’t looking good for the turkey trade round this time final 12 months. Canada was lurching right into a second wave of COVID-19 infections, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had gone on nationwide tv in late September to announce Thanksgiving 2020 was basically cancelled.


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“This isn’t the time to have events,” he stated. “It’s all too probably we gained’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, however we nonetheless have a shot at Christmas.”

Jean-Michel Laurin, chief government of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, stated the prime minister’s announcement again then scared him.

Turkey farmers and processors historically depend upon Thanksgiving for greater than a 3rd of their gross sales, whereas Christmas makes up one other 40 or so per cent of whole gross sales. With out these holidays, there could be severe bother.

“We had been very anxious,” Laurin stated. “We thought, ‘Are there going to be any turkey gross sales?’”

However Thanksgiving gross sales in 2020 truly went up, to the purpose that some within the trade this 12 months are hoping simply to match them.


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The Turkey Farmers of Canada reported a 21 per cent enhance in entire hen gross sales for Thanksgiving 2020 in comparison with 2019.

And, in line with the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, entire hen gross sales within the fourth quarter of 2020, which covers each Thanksgiving and Christmas, elevated by roughly three per cent 12 months over 12 months — a exceptional feat “regardless of the circumstances we discovered ourselves in,” Laurin stated.

In hindsight, that enhance is smart. As an alternative of 4 households getting collectively to eat one turkey, every family purchased their very own. Darren Ference, an Alberta turkey farmer who leads the Turkey Farmers of Canada, identified this week 4 smaller birds — at three to 5 kilograms every — are higher than a giant one at 11 kilograms.


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Ference is anticipating a repeat of final 12 months’s smaller gatherings, and better gross sales, judging by the current spike in infections in Western Canada.

“I’m hoping that we simply keep on par with what we had been final 12 months,” he stated.

However Ference additionally famous that anticipating client demand through the pandemic has been notoriously tough.

I believe now we’re in a significantly better place for a extremely good festive season

Jean-Michel Laurin, chief government, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council

Laurin, on the processors council, isn’t nervous like he was final 12 months. Nearly all of Canadians are vaccinated, he stated, and are more likely to get collectively for the vacation in methods they didn’t in 2020.

“I believe now we’re in a significantly better place for a extremely good festive season,” he stated.

The one concern, although, is that increased costs may dampen gross sales. Laurin stated will increase in the price of feed, equivalent to corn and soybeans, have made it costlier to supply turkeys.


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“Whether or not that interprets into increased prices on the grocery store, and whether or not that interprets into an impression on consumption, we don’t know but. We hope it gained’t,” he stated. “Possibly some retailers will wish to worth it aggressively as a result of it will get individuals into the shop. You by no means actually know.”

Marie-Claude Bacon, a spokesperson for the Metro Inc. chain of grocery shops, instructed that the rise in retail costs may push some customers to think about altering what they serve.

“Turkey is hottest in Ontario for Thanksgiving, however we additionally anticipate to promote loads of prime rib and hams,” she stated in an electronic mail. “The gross sales will shift between the three commodities relying upon relative worth.”

If it’s something like earlier years, Thanksgiving turkey gross sales ought to begin in earnest this weekend, reaching their peak subsequent weekend.

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