It may not seem like it at the Thanksgiving table, but Americans are eating less turkey than they used to. Americans are expected to eat 16 pounds of turkey per person this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s almost double the amount they ate in 1970, but 9% lower than the amount consumed in 1990. That’s despite lower prices. Turkey costs around $1.47 per pound, which is less than half what it cost in the 1970s, said Trey Malone, an assistant professor in the department of agricultural, food and resource econom
ics at Michigan State University. Malone said one reason for falling consumption is that buyers are more concerned about food waste, so they’re choosing smaller turkeys for holiday feasts. In the year that ended Oct. 26, whole turkey sales fell 9% to $561 million, according to Nielsen. That’s down from $668 million four years ago. Malone said turkey is also facing a lot more competition in the grocery store. In 1975, the average grocery had 8,000 options on the shelf. In 2015, that had risen to 45,000.