Market researchers at Mintel found turkey was largely responsible for the increase in poultry sales -- turkey, duck, and other specialty birds -- from $6 billion in 2008 to $7.1 billion in 2012, the Institute of Food Technologists reported.
In addition, 84 percent of Americans say they ate turkey; 93 percent said they ate chicken and 23 percent said they ate other poultry, such as duck, goose and hen, the researchers said.
Whole chickens had sales of $5.5 billion in 2012, an increase of 0.6 percent from 2011.
Poultry in general might also start pulling in some consumers from the red meat market.
"The growth of other poultry products over 2011 and 2012 is partly attributed to the increasing popularity of Heritage turkeys, which are bigger, take longer to reach maturity and sell for more than standard turkeys," John N. Frank, category manager for Mintel Food and Drink, said in a statement. "However, if other poultry products, like turkey, want to continue their impressive growth and not just be seen as the festive centerpiece, they will need to provide the level of innovation that is being seen in the chicken parts segment."
Chicken parts make up the majority of sales -- they represent an attractive option for shoppers who want a convenient and healthy choice for quick dinners, while whole chickens take a substantial amount of time to prepare and culinary know-how, Frank added.
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