Later this month, those of us in the United States celebrate one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. Officially, Thanksgiving is a post-harvest celebration that was brought to the Americas by European settlers in the 16th or 17th century (depending on which historian you believe). Unofficially, it's the day where families and friends gather to feast, take naps and watch football. Oh my, even as I type this my mouth is watering...turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, peas and the like, with chasers of pumpkin, apple and other assorted pies. All delicious, but I particularly love eating turkey on Thanksgiving.
Apparently, I'm not alone. Look around. Where I live it seems that every high school plays a "Turkey Bowl" football and/or soccer game over the Thanksgiving weekend. Every supermarket has a bonus program to get consumer to buy their top-of-the-line bird. Young kids feel like artists by learning to draw turkeys by starting with an outline of their open hands. The connections between Thanksgiving and the turkey are nearly endless. In a sense, Thanksgiving and turkey have become nearly synonymous, so much so that I've often heard Thanksgiving simply called "Turkey Day".
But what of those who don't eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Yes, that's right. It turns out that it only seems like everybody eats turkey on Thanksgiving. There are many who do not. Some folks - shudder! - simply do not like turkey. Still others may like turkey but would rather enjoy another showpiece for their feast...maybe a nice pot roast, a roast lamb, perhaps some seafood, or perhaps surf-and-turf.
I guess what amazes me is not that some people don't have turkey for Thanksgiving, but that the marketing machine is so focused on the Thanksgiving-turkey marriage that it seems to miss the opportunity to address the feasting needs of the non-turkey segment. There's no question that this tradition-be-damned segment represents a small piece of the consumer pie, but there is also no question that there is (a lot) less competition for their mouths.
As we all know, sometimes the smaller segments are also the more profitable segments.
Just a little food for thought, as I prepare my menu for my favorite holiday feast.