Avoid being fed misinformation this Thanksgiving
Earlier this month, a local Iowa news station shared an article from a national network on skipping Thanksgiving’s most beloved bird—the turkey—and going ‘plant-based’ during holiday gatherings instead.
Iowans were not amused. Memes and gifs of their “hard no” reactions flooded the comment section. Needless to say, feathers were ruffled.
Iowa Farm Bureau’s Food and Farm Index reinforces this love for real meat with nearly all Iowa grocery shoppers surveyed saying their household eats meat, poultry and dairy foods regularly. Iowans are a proud bunch, so we’ll come to the defense of the animal proteins raised here in our state.
But when the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently tweeted an “economical” comparison of tofurky against real turkey in terms of calories and protein, there was widespread outrage from coast to coast.
Their claim: A serving of turkey costs $1.42 while tofurky, an alternative protein derived from soybeans, costs 66 cents for the same number of calories as the real deal but with twice as much protein.
Can we get a fact check, please?
Luckily, Dr. Sam Funk—Iowa Farm Bureau’s senior economist—did just that.
A good ol’ 10–17 pound turkey is running an average of 87 cents per pound right now at major retailers. With the Fed’s analysis, Iowans are getting more than a serving of turkey at their $1.42 figure which also equates to 25 grams of protein at 171 calories. (A bonus—turkey is a high-quality, complete protein.)
When Dr. Funk ran the numbers for tofu though, it simply didn’t add up. To match gram for gram the protein in the St. Louis Fed's $1.42 turkey portion, you’d have to eat more than 3 servings of tofu at the price of $1.17. So, where did the Fed’s original numbers come from? (Insert raised eyebrow emoji here.)
Iowa is number two in soybean production in the United States and seventh in the nation for turkey. Iowa’s family farms are diverse. It’s what makes our ag economy so strong. This isn’t about what you’ll choose to put in the center of your dining room table—it’s about being fed misinformation. Dr. Funk says eat tofu made of soybean protein if you so choose but know turkey is a protein-packed option that is more affordable than the data some want you to swallow this Thanksgiving.
Celebrate this season of thankfulness in whatever way feels right to you with comfy Thanksgiving pants, ugly holiday sweaters, football games, family 5K runs, total avoidance of political conversations, and most importantly, whatever food brings you together with the people you love.
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