Unexpectedly Intriguing!
November 25, 2008

We're continuing our descent into Turkeymania 2008 today, revealing the identities of the major companies of the U.S. turkey-industrial complex perhaps better known collectively as "Big Turkey."

Who are these companies and how big are they? The chart below answers in terms of the live weight of the turkeys they processed in 2007:

We've gone the extra mile and created a dynamic table with this data that you can sort alphabetically by company, by the combined live weight of the turkeys they processed in 2007, or by the percentage share of the total live weight of turkeys produced in 2007. You just need to click the column headings to sort the data into the order that you'd like to see it:

Top U.S. Turkey Processors, 2007
Company 2007 Live Weight Processed [millions lbs] Percentage of Market in 2007
Butterball 1375 17.47
Jennie-O Turkey Store 1255 15.95
Cargill Meat Solutions 1112 14.13
Farbest Foods 271 3.44
House of Raeford Farms 255 3.24
Perdue Farms 252 3.20
Foster Farms 248 3.15
Virginia Poultry Growers Coop. 241 3.06
Prestage Foods 236 3.00
Sara Lee 220 2.80
West Liberty Foods 218 2.77
Oscar Mayer 213 2.71
Cooper Farms 178 2.26
Michigan Turkey Producers 171 2.17
Norbest 150 1.91
Dakota Provisions 145 1.84
Zacky Farms 131 1.66
Turkey Valley Farms 115 1.46
Norther Pride 40 0.51
White Water Processessing 32 0.41
Combined Total for Smaller Producers 1011 12.85
Total for 2007 7869 100.00

We find that just three companies process 47.6% of the total mass of turkeys produced in 2007, as measured by their live weight: Butterball, Jennie-O and the mysterious Cargill Meat Solutions*.

* With a name like "Cargill Meat Solutions," it has to be mysterious - to the best of our knowledge, meat only "solves" one problem: hunger! What other problems meat might solve is left to the reader's imagination....

The smaller producers referred to in the table above are those that processed less than 32 million pounds of live turkeys individually in 2007.

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