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Poultry Producers Are Scrambling to Service and Profit Off This Year’s Sad Thanksgiving

Plus, United Airlines is resuming some food and beverage services, and more news to start your day

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Colorful turkeys walking around on grass. Photo: mnapoli/Shutterstock

Turkey farmers are trying to pivot to accommodate smaller Thanksgiving celebrations

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is spelling out a very different holiday season in the U.S. this year, starting with Thanksgiving. Per public health guidance, there may be fewer trips back home, large gatherings, and feasts to feed a crowd — and, accordingly, fewer people buying big turkeys.

Butterball, one of the country’s largest turkey producers, projects a sizable increase in “immediate-family-only” celebrations, the Washington Post reports. Consumers are looking for smaller birds, parts only, or different proteins altogether, ranging from chicken to pork roast to plant-based alternatives.

Turkey farmers are scrambling to meet these changed consumer needs, Modern Farmer reports. Some are paying processors extra to cut the turkeys into parts, harvesting their birds early while they’re smaller in size, or turning their attention to raising other sources of meat. All of these pivots involve additional costs, planning, and labor. And even then, selling enough to make their sales goals isn’t a guarantee.

“You think you’re going to get ahead and then you don’t,” one farmer told Modern Farmer. “It’s just been a rollercoaster.”

And in other news…

  • McDonald’s isn’t the only chain working with Beyond Meat — Pizza Hut is coming out with Beyond Pan Pizzas with plant-based sausage. [Forbes]
  • Despite these partnerships, Beyond Meat shares tumbled nearly 29% yesterday after unexpected losses that the company attributes to pandemic fallout. [TechCrunch]
  • The Department of Labor is going through with a promise to freeze the minimum wage for seasonal H-2A visa farm workers, effectively decreasing pay and transferring $170 million in projected wages per year from migrant workers to employers. [The Counter]
  • Coffee chains and retail coffee brands are competing for your morning cup of joe. [WSJ]
  • United Airlines is resuming the sale of food, beer, and wine in economy. This will be tested first on select flights from Denver. [USA Today]
  • Taco Bell is bringing back hiring parties, only this time with social distancing. [NRN]
  • Krispy Kreme is going caramel. [TimeOut]

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