The brand has existed for over fifty years and has been the top-selling brand of turkey in the United States for over forty years.
The name Butterball was originally registered as trademark #378,438 on June 11, 1940 by Ada Walker of Wyoming, Ohio. Leo Peters purchased the trademark in February 1951. Leo Peters licensed the name to Swift and Co. for 10 years before selling it in the 60's. Peters sold the name "Butterball" to Swift and Co. which was later acquired by ConAgra, but retained rights to the use of the name for his butter products and the company he founded which is still in operation today: Butterball Farms, Inc.
An undercover PETA video investigation released in July 2006 showed Butterball employees beating and inhumanely killing turkeys.
In October 2006, ConAgra's Butterball branded turkey business was sold to North Carolina based Carolina Turkeys, which renamed itself Butterball LLC.
According to Butterball, the following products are sold under the Butterball name:
In addition, Butterball Farms sells decoratively formed butter under the Butterball name.
Beginning in late 1981, Butterball has maintained a toll-free telephone line called the Turkey Talk-Line to help customers with various cooking difficulties and questions. Eleven thousand people called in 1981, and in recent years the number has grown to over 200,000 each holiday season. Each of the operators holds a degree in either dietetics or home economics, roughly half of which are Masters-level. The most frequent question asked is how long a turkey takes to defrost.
In The West Wing episode "The Indians in the Lobby", President Josiah Bartlet calls the number (referred to as the "Butterball Hotline" in the script) to discuss stuffing and cooking his Thanksgiving turkey.