When it comes to turkey, Norbest and Butterball are the two heavyweights that dominate the market. Over the years, many families have gone back and forth between them, debating their merits and trying to determine once and for all which reigns supreme. So, what’s the difference between Norbest and Butterball turkeys?
There are some significant differences between Norbest and Butterball in size, taste, quality, ethics, and availability that are worth considering before you pick one for your holiday feast.
Everyone knows that cooking for a feast is more challenging than it may seem. This is why you need to read on and find out how these two turkey titans stack up so you can make the right choice for your table this year.
Size and Variety
When it comes to size and variety, Norbest definitely offers more options. As for me, I prefer having choices so I can find a turkey that perfectly suits my needs.
Norbest provides whole turkeys from 6-7 to 24-30 pounds, so whether you’re feeding a small family or hosting a big holiday dinner, they have you covered. Butterball’s sizes are more limited, from 14 to 16 pounds.
Norbest also offers ground turkey and deli turkey, as well as turkey breasts and turkey roasts. Butterball, on the other hand, offers whole turkeys, turkey cuts, turkey roasts, deli turkey, turkey sausage, ground turkey, turkey bacon, and turkey burger.
When it comes to taste, I have to say I generally prefer Norbest turkeys. Don’t get me wrong, Butterball makes an excellent turkey, but Norbest turkeys seem more flavorful.
Norbest turkeys are fed an all-vegetarian diet without any antibiotics or hormones. This natural diet helps the turkeys develop more complex flavors. The meat tends to be juicier, and the taste is more prosperous. Norbest turkeys also have a higher fat content, which helps keep the meat tender and adds more flavor.
On the other hand, Butterball turkeys are fed a standard diet, and while the meat is still tasty, I find it can be a bit drier, and the flavor isn’t quite as robust. The lower fat content means the meat isn’t quite as juicy.
Of course, taste is subjective, so you may have a different preference. And Butterball does have the advantage of being more widely available in stores year-round. But if you want the most flavorful, all-natural turkey, Norbest is worth seeking out. When it comes to taste, Norbest turkeys are tough to beat.
Meat Quality and Packaging
Regarding meat quality and packaging, some critical differences between Norbest and Butterball turkeys are essential to consider.
Norbest turkeys are vegetarian-fed and raised without antibiotics or hormones. Butterball turkeys are minimally processed and have no artificial ingredients. 
Regarding packaging, Butterball states they pre-brine pre-brine directly in the breast meat, ensuring buyers can take the turkey from the packaging to their pan without additional preparation before cooking. Butterball turkeys come with an easy-to-read instructional insert with step-by-step cooking instructions. 
Besides, they come in a cook-proof bag, so the turkey isn’t ruined if you forget to take them off.
Norbest also provides sustainable packaging that appeals to those who try to limit excess plastic usage.
Norbest prides itself on raising turkeys without antibiotics or added hormones. As someone concerned about what goes into my food and the overuse of antibiotics, this appeals to me. Butterball also claims their turkeys are gluten-free, raised without hormones, and all-natural, meaning they are minimally processed and have no artificial ingredients.
Norbest turkeys are raised in open-concept barns with access to the outdoors, while Butterball turkeys are grown on family farms in safe, climate-controlled barns with access to fresh, clean water 24/7. They are raised on a healthy, balanced diet of grains, vitamins, and minerals. 
Their Organic Turkey is also available in Costco, so definitely go and check it out!
Which Is Better, Norbest or Butterball Turkey?
Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself and determine what factors are most important to you and your needs. Cost and availability are certainly not the only things to consider when choosing a turkey brand. Taste, quality, and ethics are essential in the decision.
In the end, while Butterball may be more readily available and often cheaper, Norbest seems to win out regarding quality, ethics, and taste. Their turkeys are hormone and antibiotic-free, and the company has higher standards for animal welfare.
Norbest turkeys are fed an all-vegetarian diet and raised in more humane, free-range conditions. This results in a higher quality, better-tasting turkey, in my opinion.
Norbest also offers turkeys in a broader range of sizes, while Butterball turkeys have more variety.
Lastly, Norbest has a usually slightly higher price, which may be a deal breaker for some people.
So, which one are you choosing? Have you tried both? I would like to know what you think in the comments!