Why Millennials Want Smaller Turkeys



For years, the bigger the turkey was on the Thanksgiving table, the better. But this year's turkeys are trending smaller and that isn't by accident.

This is because millennials aren't looking for those pump massive turkeys that leave leftovers for days.

Food waste is becoming an increasingly concerning issue,” said Michael Averbook, a food and drink analyst at Mintel Group to "Fortune." “Leftovers are part of the fun and tradition of the holidays, and this may be a small step for individuals to feel less wasteful and socially responsible.”

Not only do millennials want to be less wasteful, but they are also more concerned about how the turkey is treated prior to being placed on the dinner table.

“People are starting to understand it’s not natural to grow turkeys up to 30 pounds,” said Ariane Daguin, co-founder and owner of D’Artagnan LLC to "Fortune." “In general, that means they were penned up with no room to move around, and that’s why they’re fat like that.”

So with that being said, smaller turkeys have become an attractive alternative for those looking to still celebrate the holiday with some juicy turkey.

"There are signs that wee birds are in greater demand. Inventories of whole hens, which are smaller than males, are down 8.3 percent from a year ago, the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Whole toms, the males, are up 6.9 percent," writes "Fortune."

But since the majority of millennials aren't hosting Thanksgiving, the 12 to 14-pound turkeys are still the best sellers.

Bigger turkeys are available for the first time this year from the meal-kit service HelloFresh, sourced from Cargill. Amazon's Whole Foods' bestseller remains the classic 14 to 18-pound turkey.

Last year, 62 percent of households had just one or two people. So smaller 6-pound turkeys are still very much in demand.

“Family sizes are smaller,” said Karen Bell, owner of Bavette La Boucherie butcher shop in Milwaukee, who said her tiny-turkey supply is selling quick. “Celebrating Thanksgiving isn’t like 20-people extended families.”

But turkey isn't the only protein being served. There are the other traditional meats like Honey Baked Ham. With more vegetarians and vegans, plant-based proteins are making their way on the table.

Plant-based consumption is up 300% over the last year, according to Foodable Labs. This is bound to have an impact on turkey sales this year. Watch the video below to learn more about the plant-based movement.

Read more about this year's Thanksgiving turkey trends at "Fortune" now.