Tasting Table Unearths Where Most People Buy Their Thanksgiving Turkey

As the star of the Thanksgiving meal, there is always pressure to serve a perfectly roasted turkey. But before you can even think about prepping and cooking the bird, you need to purchase it. Every year about 46 million turkeys are eaten for the Thanksgiving holiday, with Americans spending about $835 million to buy them, according to WalletHub. Turkey is known to be the most popular component of the Thanksgiving meal — and there aren't many people skipping out. While some may prefer ham or another festive meat for Thanksgiving, 88% of Americans surveyed reported eating turkey on the big day (via the University of Illinois).

When it comes to purchasing a turkey for Thanksgiving, 34% of Americans said they planned to get a large turkey in 2021, according to Statista, which was the same amount that said they were going to buy an average-sized turkey. Eighteen percent of respondents said they would buy a small turkey, 4% said they would buy a tiny turkey or no turkey at all, and 3% of people answered they wanted to buy a turkey breast, legs, or wings. So, most will purchase turkey in some form, but where will they get it? Tasting Table asked 601 readers where they buy their Thanksgiving turkey — here are the results.

A much-favored option

The beautifully cooked Thanksgiving turkey may have been raised on a farm, but only 14 Tasting Table readers (2.33%) said they would purchase their turkey there. The options that were only slightly more popular for readers were buying turkeys online at 3.33% (20 people) and restaurants at 6.32% with 38 people. With a focus in recent years on shopping locally, 62 Tasting Table readers (10.32%) said they would buy their turkey from a local seller. However, the most popular place to purchase a Thanksgiving turkey is a grocery store. In total, 77.7% of survey respondents (467 people) said they buy their turkey from a grocery store. 

Tasting Table also found that the shortcut readers were least likely to take for their Thanksgiving meal was purchasing a precooked turkey, and roasting was by far the preferred method for cooking the bird.

With so many people purchasing their turkey from a grocery store, it's safe to say you shouldn't wait until the last minute to get your Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece.