10 Unexpected Statistics About Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is the food holiday, and many items on the menu, though supposedly loved by those who gather, are only served this one day a year in the US. The consumption of these items — whole turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, and canned cranberry sauce — shows how closely associated with the national holiday these particular foods have become.

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Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday of November and falls on November 24 this year. The holiday includes the busiest travel day and the two most intense shopping days of the year. Thankfully, Thanksgiving is all about the comfort of tradition, and there’s safety in numbers amidst all the holiday crowds.

Read on to learn some interesting food facts related to Thanksgiving.

1. 40 million whole turkeys are eaten in the US during Thanksgiving.

This represents a whopping 50% of all whole turkeys sold in the US this year, with most of the rest purchased for Christmas meals. One in three whole turkeys bought on Thanksgiving is sold by Butterball, the North Carolina turkey producer that doesn’t “butter” any of its turkeys.

The USDA expects a 1.5% decline in whole chicken sales in 2021. Frozen turkey stocks in August 2021 were 24% lower than non-pandemic annual average volumes and 19% lower than August 2020. Lower supply has reduced the price of frozen whole turkeys by 13%.

In addition, poultry processing plants are experiencing severe labor shortages, impacting the availability of fresh whole turkeys and specialty products such as turkey breasts, the price of which has increased by 73% since April 2021. It will be interesting to see what this year’s Thanksgiving data reveals about turkey numbers and volume after the holidays.

(Sources: The Economist, University of Arkansas, USDA)

2. $96 million is spent on stuffing on Thanksgiving each year

Stuffing is consumed almost exclusively on the day of Thanksgiving and rarely on post-holiday menus. Kraft sells 40 million boxes of it Stove Top Stuffing mix every year from October to December. Pretty good for what many consider simply “seasoned breadcrumbs”.

Compare the sale of stuffing with that of macaroni and cheese. While macaroni and cheese is also a turkey day staple for many families, especially those in the South, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is happily served year-round to the tune of 1 million boxes per day.

And since we’re on a carb bun, if you’re wondering how many buns are eaten on Thanksgiving, statistics indicate that 32.2 million buns were bought.

(Sources: National Grocers Association, Kraft Heinz Company)

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3. 40% of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup sales occur around Thanksgiving

Nearly all of this 40% is for green bean casseroles served by more than 20 million American households.

In 1955, Dorcas Reilly was tasked with creating a simple recipe that would get picked up by the newspapers and make it easy and quick for home cooks to assemble the dish from ingredients at hand – most notably Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup and canned green beans.

The dish was initially intended to be a daily meal, but became a Thanksgiving tradition when Campbell’s put the recipe on the soup can’s label. The recipe is viewed 4 million times online every Thanksgiving.

(Source: Smithsonian Magazine)

4. Thanksgiving buys 80 million pounds of cranberries

This represents 20% of all cranberries sold in the US each year. These 40 tons of cranberries are canned jelly, with 5 million gallons of cranberry sauce bought for Thanksgiving tables. The rest of the year, cranberries are consumed primarily in the US as processed juice.

The cranberry harvest lasts only six weeks, and in an effort to capitalize on year-round sales, Marcus Urann first canned jelly cranberry sauce in 1912. .

Ocean Spray sells 80% of its jellied cranberry sauce the week of Thanksgiving and produces 70 million cans each year.

(Sources: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Vox)

5. Tofurky’s “roast” for the holiday season experienced a 22% increase in sales during Thanksgiving 2020

Tofurky — a vegan mix of tofu and wheat with a wild rice filling that is the punch line of many meat eaters’ jokes — first hit the market in 1995. It sold its 6 millionth roast as shoppers geared up for Thanksgiving 2020. Tofurky’s vegan ham also experienced a 600% year-over-year sales increase for Easter 2020.

Plant-based meat demand grew 45% in 2020 and is now a $1.4 billion market. Location, location, location is part of the reason sales of refrigerated (as opposed to frozen) plant-based meats grew 75% in 2020. Products like Impossible Burgers are now placed next to conventional meat products instead of random locations in the fresh produce department. 18% of US households now purchase plant-based meats, up from 14% in 2019.

(Sources: Forbes, VegNews, Plant Based Food Association)

6. Don’t forget the cake! 35% of Americans prefer pumpkin pie as their favorite for rounding out a Thanksgiving meal

That’s according to a 2020 YouGovAmerica study. What other flavors do Americans like? 16% choose pecan pie, 11% apple pie, 10% sweet potato pie, 6% chocolate pie, 4% cherry pie.

Our own FinanceBuzz survey found similar results: Nearly 45% of people chose pumpkin as the most essential pie, while apple pie beat out sweet potato for second place.

FiveThirtyEight did a similar study in 2015 and found that while pumpkin was the pie of choice in the US for Thanksgiving, preferences for second place varied from region to region. Apple pie was the favorite second choice in New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Pecan pie and sweet potato pie were number two in the South. Cherry pie took Midwest and West secondary honors.

(Sources: YouGovAmerica, FinanceBuzz, FiveThirtyEight)

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7. Of those on pie service, 37% claim they make their Thanksgiving pies from scratch

Another one-third of bakers claim homemade status for their pies, though they may use store-bought shortcuts such as pre-made crusts or pie filling. Then there’s the 26% who buy their pies from the store and don’t even try to pass them off as homemade.

Regionally, Instacart found that since its inception pie baking was clustered in the Northeast and Midwest, with Vermont and Maine leading those who bought the most pie ingredients relative to the national average with ratios of 42% and 38%, respectively.

The West is most likely to buy ready-made pies. Hawaii is the most likely to buy ready-to-eat pies relative to the national average with a ratio of 32%.

(Sources: YouGovAmerica, Instacart)

8. In 1953, a Swanson employee made a colossal mistake and over-ordered turkey for Thanksgiving at the cost of 260 tons of frozen birds left in 10 refrigerated train cars

Gerry Thomas, one of the few people who could be inspired by airplane food, had the bright idea of ​​buying 5,000 aluminum containers and making a simple meal of turkey, dressing, gravy, peas and sweet potatoes, with individual knobs of butter. A conveyor belt of women with scoops of ice cream was set up and the TV dinner was born.

The first TV dinner cost 98 cents and 10 million turkey dinners were sold in 1954.

(Source: Smithsonian Magazine)

9. Americans put up their Christmas trees an average of 4.5 weeks before Christmas

For 2021, Treetopia collected data from people who put up their Christmas trees before Thanksgiving and those who insist on waiting until closer to Christmas Day. The timing of the tree’s arrival and decoration varies by state.

People in Rhode Island and South Carolina put their trees up an average of 6.6 weeks before Christmas, which would be about November 10. Residents of Oregon, Connecticut and Florida wait until 3.3 weeks for Christmas.

Americans wait an average of 2.9 weeks after Christmas to remove their Christmas tree. Illinois residents wait the longest at 4.2 weeks to remove their tree, while those in North Carolina take an average of 2.1 weeks to take down the tree and pack up the decorations.

(Source: Treetopia)

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10. 22% of respondents feel judged if they put up their Christmas tree earlier than usual

And these Christmas enthusiasts may not be wrong if they feel judged, as respondents admitted to having strong opinions about when people put up and take down their Christmas trees. Interestingly, 25% of respondents admit to judging others when they remove their tree later than the norm.

Christmas decorations can get emotional and be taken a little too seriously as 21% of American men admit to being competitive with their neighbors when it comes to Christmas decorations.

(Source: Treetopia)

How to save money this Thanksgiving season

Rising food prices are about to make things more expensive this year, and you might also be planning to put down some cash on Black Friday. So here are some tips to keep some extra cash in your wallet during this holiday season:

  • Optimize your shopping. There are plenty of ways to save on groceries, from clipping coupons to using rewards apps to making money back by using one of the best grocery shopping credit cards.

  • Earn rewards when you accelerate. Many people travel across the country to be with family and friends during the holidays. Anyone planning a long drive should consider using one of the best gas credit cards so they can earn rewards for every fill-up along the way.

  • Consider taking a bigger-picture approach to managing your money. If we only consider every buying opportunity, it can be easy to overspend. But if you take the time to review all of your expenses and do some budgeting, you can get smarter about saying yes or no to small purchases.

It boils down

The modern day manifestation of Thanksgiving is busy, with Turkey Day being the most important dining, travel and shopping holiday of the year. But besides the food and the football games, don’t forget to take some time to find the gratitude in your Thanksgiving celebrations. And don’t forget to defrost that turkey.

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