One of the hot topics at February’s annual meeting of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) was the Turkey Demand Project. In 2015, U.S. consumption of turkey was 16.0 pounds per person. NTF’s goal is to increase per-person turkey consumption to 20 pounds by 2020.
“We bring turkey top of mind in menu planning,” said Keith Williams, NTF’s vice president of communication and marketing. “Our strategy is to inspire a taste for new offerings from varieties of ground turkey for burgers, sausages, meatballs and meatloaf as well as turkey breast, turkey drums and turkey that may be barbecued, smoked, sautéed or grilled.”
Williams described a multi-pronged approach:
- Influencing the influencers: NTF is conducting an outreach campaign to influence those who impact consumers’ meal choices: executive chefs in national restaurant chains and registered dietitians (RDs) employed by supermarket chains.
- Taking the message on the road: NTF engages influencers at their national conferences, professional gatherings, and promotional events, offering compelling information for selected chefs and RDs to share with their social media audiences.
- Direct communication: NTF provides a ready resource of recipes and cooking tips through their ServeTurkey.org website.
Through NTF’s efforts, turkey is becoming a diversified product able to compete with other protein products on a year-round basis and not just the holidays. This increased demand is prompting many turkey producers to increase their investments in MES/MOM technology to maximize yield and improve operating efficiency.
“Over the last year, we’ve seen a great deal of movement among our contacts in the turkey industry towards adopting more technology,” said Tom Huls, vice president of sales for CAT Squared. “CAT Squared’s software is currently being used to manage plant-floor production data by eight of the top 20 turkey processors. During the recent IPPE in Atlanta, we discussed potential projects with four others. Our customers are relying on real-time data from our systems to anticipate demand and adjust production accordingly.”