“We have to grow international markets for U.S.
turkey not just with commodity products but with higher-priced, value-added products. There are many premium
markets around the world, and that is a great incentive for
us to open and develop those markets for U.S.-produced
turkey,” he said.
No stereotyping of turkey in international markets
Turkey has some unique challenges and opportunities in
international markets. “One of the troubles that the turkey
industry has been faced with domestically is the stereotyping
of turkey,” Willardsen said. “But since Thanksgiving is an
American holiday, this stereotyping for the most part does
not exist internationally. It’s a problem that we don’t have to
spend our money overcoming in international markets. This
is one reason I think the opportunity for turkey in international markets is probably greater than ever.”
However, turkey is little known in many international
markets, which poses its own marketing challenge.
“Outside the U.S., turkey meat is viewed in much the
same way the way that U.S. consumers might view ostrich
or lamb meat. The industry needs to educate customers
and consumers in many international markets on how to
use turkey,” he said.
Weather trumps opportunities in 2013
Turkey producers at work on long-term opportunities might be spurred on by Jim Collins’ advice:
“Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends
more on what you do yourself than what the world
does to you.” There is, however, a short-term factor
not under their control — the weather, which will
greatly influence crops and feed costs in 2013. Turkey
producers will need to stay focused on their long-term
objectives whatever the economic circumstances. ■
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