Butterball plagued by skinny turkeys, Thanksgiving shortage looms

Turkey giant Butterball is warning grocers and consumers about a nationwide turkey shortage with less than two weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Butterball, the nation’s largest supplier of turkeys, will be shipping half as many large fresh turkeys to stores this season.

The shortage will mean less fresh turkeys weighing more than 16 pounds. Butterball said a majority of their turkeys didn’t pack on as much weight as expected.

Retailers have been forced to get their supply of larger turkeys from other producers, but Butterball’s corner on the market could mean fewer large fresh turkeys in grocery stores ahead of Thanksgiving.

It’s estimated that 1 in 4 turkeys cooked on Thanksgiving comes from a Butterball farm.

Some supermarkets have already begun preparing for the planned shortage, stocking up on larger frozen turkeys.

Butterball issued a statement last Thursday, saying they have plenty of frozen turkeys. The company said its investigating what caused their birds to come up short on the seasonal weight gain.

Butterball anticipates their large fresh turkey supplies to be back to normal by Christmas time.