By Raisa Bruner
November 15, 2018

We all know the saying: less is more. While that doesn’t normally apply to a Thanksgiving feast, it seems to be a mantra taking hold more and more for American eaters, according to new reports about poultry trends.

Bloomberg reports that smaller turkeys are breaking big this year, noting that inventories of whole hens are down, shoppers are snapping up smaller birds from grocers and some breeders are even developing a distinctive six-pound turkey type (not yet for sale).

Experts are suggesting that smaller family sizes, alternative gastronomic interests and increased desire to avoid food waste could be reasons behind the new trend. (So, yeah, this one can be pinned on millennials too.)

“People are starting to understand it’s not natural to grow turkeys up to 30 pounds,” Ariane Daguin of food company D’Artagnan LLC told Bloomberg.

At Thanksgiving, as many as 45 million turkeys are killed for the annual feast. But turkey has become somewhat less popular over the years, with vegetarian and vegan options proliferating, the American palate evolving and household residents dwindling. And as Daguin noted, the first Thanksgiving was just as likely to feature venison as turkey — making the traditional bird less of a centerpiece to the occasion than perhaps we’ve come to think of it over the years.

Just don’t tell that to the turkey who will get pardoned at the White House this year.

Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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