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Butterball Says This Year's Thanksgiving Festivities Will Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Turkey brand's report confirms consumer commitment to having turkey at center of the table
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
According to Butterball's outlook, Thanksgiving dinners will return to pre-2020 levels this year.

There’s still some summer left to be had, but it’s not too early for grocers to talk turkey. For those gearing up for the Thanksgiving holiday, venerable turkey brand Butterball has shared its projections for 2023 meals and celebrations.

According to the brand’s annual Thanksgiving Outlook Report, celebrations are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels with turkey on the menu for an overwhelming number of households. The survey found that 89% of consumers plan to host or attend a celebration of the same size or larger this year, with an anticipated average gathering size of nine people. Turkey will be enjoyed by 82% of those polled and 79% say they plan to buy a whole fresh or frozen turkey.

[Read more: “UNFI Helps Grocers Prep for Winter Selling Season”]

As in 2022, inflation is likely to be an unwanted guest at this year’s repasts. Butterball’s research indicates that 79% of consumers who plan to celebrate Thanksgiving expect high prices to impact their plans in some way. That said, only 16% of hosts said they will ask guests to share the expense of the meal and less than a third (29%) will tap guests to bring part of the meal.

"While inflation remains top of mind, it's encouraging to see consumers' continued dedication to gathering with friends and family this holiday season, and to gathering around turkey specifically," said Chad McFadden, senior retail brand manager at the Garner, N.C.-based Butterball. "We're proud to play a part in helping to bring people together and pass love on this holiday season."

Butterball is spending the next few weeks making preparations of its own for the holiday. On Nov. 1, the brand will officially open its annual Butterball Turkey-Talk line that’s available via phone, text, chat and social media platforms.

Meanwhile, Coresight Research also weighed in early on the prospects of the Thanksgiving and holiday season on the horizon. Last month, Coresight’s analysts reported that they anticipated a “perhaps-surprising number of tailwinds for retail expansion” in the last few months of the year that include Thanksgiving celebrations.  

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