Butterball, the nation's largest producer of turkeys, has announced that it will be shipping out half as many large, fresh never-frozen turkeys to retailers this year. The company says many of its birds had trouble gaining weight during the production process, reports FOX. And though the cause of the problem remains a mystery, food distributors say their orders for turkeys 16 pounds and bigger have been slashed in half. Sixteen pounds is the national average for Thanksgiving holiday turkeys making this a particularly concerning problem.
Butterball released the following statement Thursday:
Butterball and its retail partners have ample supply of frozen whole turkeys of all sizes – small, medium or large. While there may be limited availability on some larger sizes of fresh turkeys, Butterball has shipped 100 percent of customer orders of frozen whole turkeys and products are in distribution across the country. We experienced a decline in weight gains on some of our farms causing a limited availability of large, fresh turkeys. While we are continuing to evaluate all potential causes, we are working to remedy the issue. We sincerely regret the inconvenience that some of our customers have experienced as a result of this issue.Butterball produces approximately 41 million turkeys each year, accounting for 16 percent of the entire U.S. market. On Thanksgiving, nearly 1 out of every 4 turkeys consumed is a Butterball bird.