Commodity ground meat not turkey’s answer
Is it pro;table to produce live turkeys to supply commodity ground turkey?
“The short answer is that I don’t think so,” Willardsen
said. “We can’t afford to grow a turkey for its back half; we
have to add value to the other half. Now, what can we do with
the white meat of the turkey? What kind of food service ap-
plication do we have for this amazing white ground turkey?
Think for a minute about the amazing white sausage oppor-
tunity perhaps on the McDonald’s menu along with, say, a
cholesterol-free egg product. Low fat, low cholesterol. So the
vision is to go in that direction.”
Panelists also expressed doubt that turkey processors
would be able to successfully compete over the longer
term in commodity ground meat. Rex Barnes, associate
administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service, for ex-
ample, noted that low-cost meat from dairy herds and im-
ported beef products are incorporated in ground beef. This
gives beef processors an important cost advantage that
would be dif;cult for turkey processors to overcome.
Turkey has opportunities with further processors
Barnes also sees opportunity for the turkey industry
in supplying further processors who purchase bulk meat
proteins to be made into foodservice items for schools and
“These are often smaller, niche processors, producing
specialty items. Most of their items are made with ground
beef or ground chicken, but they are open to using more
turkey. In fact, they frequently complain that they can’t get
an adequate supply of ground turkey. I think that has to do
with the integration in the industry and how much product
is available to those type of processors,” he said.
Supplying further processors with more turkey has
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