Despite fast-spreading –and false– rumors about the bird flu, turkey sales didn’t suffer at Iowa’s largest grocery chain during the Thanksgiving holiday. Ruth Comer, spokeswoman West Des Moines-based Hy-Vee, says turkey sales were up in the Iowa stores and across the region.
Comer says Hy-Vee saw a small increase in the number of fresh and frozen turkeys sold, but she says even a small increase is considered encouraging as it’s coming on top of big numbers in previous years. She would not disclose specific numbers of turkeys sold for competitive reasons, but could talk in generalities.
Comer says the grocery chain’s turkey sales in November were up about two-percent from a year ago. Hy-Vee has more than 200 stores in seven states, including more than 100 in Iowa. She says there were no reports from any store managers about customers with comments or concerns about avian influenza and turkey.
She says ham sales were also up this year “but turkey’s still king at Thanksgiving time.” Iowa raises about eight-million turkeys a year, ranking the state number-nine in the U-S, but Iowa ranks fifth in the nation in turkey processing. Iowa imports turkeys from several surrounding states, processing between 15-and-16-million every year. There are about 100 turkey farms in the state, each producing an average of 50-thousand turkeys a year.