Thanksgiving 2023: Despite Inflation Concerns, Turkey Remains the Star


GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Butterball has unveiled its annual “Thanksgiving Outlook” for 2023, offering insights into consumer strategies and sentiments for this year’s holiday.

Butterball, in collaboration with Circana, conducted an online survey involving a nationally representative sample of 1,838 consumers. The survey, conducted from July 3 to July 14, reveals that while inflation is a growing concern, people are remaining optimistic and committed to celebrating Thanksgiving with turkey as the centerpiece. According to Butterball, “The findings indicate that people are optimistic and planning to celebrate Thanksgiving, with turkey as the focal point. However, the shadow of inflation looms, with 79 percent of Thanksgiving celebrants anticipating its impact. Nevertheless, hosts are unwavering in their commitment to serve turkey, with 82 percent planning to include it in their feasts.”

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • Consumers are eagerly looking forward to celebrating together.
  • A remarkable 89 percent of consumers intend to host or attend gatherings of the same size or even larger this year.
  • The expected average size of these celebrations is 9 people, indicating a return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • For 83 percent of those celebrating Thanksgiving, the holiday is closely associated with family, while 74 percent associate it with togetherness.
  • Consumers are resolute in making turkey the centerpiece of their celebrations.
  • Turkey continues to be the most popular element of the Thanksgiving meal, followed by stuffing, pie, and potatoes.
  • A notable 79 percent of people serving turkey plan to purchase a whole turkey, be it fresh or frozen.
  • Furthermore, 81 percent of hosts intend to buy a turkey of the same size or larger compared to previous years.

Consumers are also devising ways to manage the costs of their Thanksgiving celebrations, including:

  • 29 percent will request guests to contribute to the meal.
  • 16 percent plan to ask guests to share the expenses of the meal.
  • 14 percent intend to host less formal gatherings.

Chad McFadden, senior retail brand manager at Butterball, commented on the findings: “Despite concerns about inflation, it’s heartening to see consumers remain committed to coming together with friends and family this holiday season, with turkey at the center of it all. We take pride in playing a role in bringing people together and spreading love during this holiday season.”

Butterball Corp., headquartered in Garner, N.C., has been in operation for 60 years, supplying sales and foodservice products to consumers in more than 45 countries. The company is dedicated to maintaining high standards in quality, food safety, and animal care and well-being. Butterball was the first major turkey company to voluntarily achieve certification through American Humane. With approximately 6,500 employees, Butterball operates across production facilities, live operations, and offices in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and North Carolina.

Fun Facts About ‘Turkey Day’:

Thanksgiving is one of the most cherished holidays in the United States, celebrated with cherished traditions such as turkey, stuffing, and football. The first Thanksgiving feast spanned three days. President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863, designating the last Thursday in November for Thanksgiving. However, President Franklin Roosevelt shifted Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday to encourage early Christmas shopping. Interestingly, there are towns and townships across the U.S. named after iconic dishes like turkey and cranberry. These include Turkey Creek, Louisiana; Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; Turkey Creek, Arizona; Cranberry Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania; and Cranberry Township, Venango County, Pennsylvania.

The United States Census Bureau also notes the largest turkey-producing states as:

  • Minnesota (37.5 million)
  • North Carolina (28 million)
  • Arkansas (27 million)
  • Indiana (20.5 million)
  • Missouri (17.5 million)
  • Virginia (14.6 million)

These six states account for about 69 percent of the turkeys produced in the U.S.