The billion dollar bird - Thanksgiving 2016

It's not a secret that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. After all, I do have the best Thanksgiving turkey recipe ever (I'm serious). 

Maybe it's being with family, maybe it's the end of fall and the smell of winter coming. Maybe it's comfy sweaters and a fire in the woodstove that I love. And the turkey. And the sausage bread pudding. And the leftovers, oh the leftovers. 

It's definitely all of the above. 

There's something comforting to know that around the country, 276 million Americans are having their version of the day with their families, their fireplaces, and their comfy sweaters.

Americans will spend over a billion dollars ( on an estimated 45 million turkeys this year (National Turkey Federation). The week of Thanksgiving is one of the highest-selling weeks for all food and beverage categories combined in the U.S., second only to the week of Christmas, according to Nielsen’s Advanced Fresh Perspective data.

Processor Tip: Increase holiday sales even more by offering a pre-order price during the summer. You'll go in to the holidays with guaranteed sales, can plan your inventory better, and be better equipped to schedule and support last minute or high volume orders. 

But it's important to remember that not everyone is easily putting a bird on the table. Average costs for a turkey will be almost $24 this year, according to a study by

Add to that the cost of sides and traveling, and whether you're hosting or visiting Thanksgiving could become more stressful than festive.

That's why I'm proud that US Foods has quietly donated more than 79 million pounds of food to Feeding America since 2007. Every employee gets a Butterball turkey during November, and each year I and others opt to donate it to the local food bank. 

Remember: after the food banks shut down for the day on Thanksgiving, they open up again the next day. And the next. Giving is year round, not just during the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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