- Inflation and bird flu are the main reasons consumers can expect to pay more for turkey this year, says one expert.
- Bird flu appeared in 42 states and killed nearly 7.3 million turkeys in 2022, according to reports.
- Record prices are expected to continue throughout the holiday season.
Thanksgiving’s signature protein will be harder to find and more expensive than ever for home cooks hoping to make turkey the centerpiece of their feasts.
In a September interview, poultry industry expert Thomas Elam said consumers should expect “record turkey prices” for Thanksgiving, in part due to an outbreak of bird flu.
“We’ve had major impacts on turkey and egg production, minor impacts on chicken meat production,” Elam told the interviewer. “And we’ve had general price inflation in wages and salaries, energy, and all of that is affecting our food retail sectors.”
According to the New York Times, farmers and processors are facing supply shortages and drought and are having to pay more for food, labor and fuel.
This year’s avian flu is of real concern, according to Elam, because it is more persistent and contagious than the strain that spread in 2015. So far, the outbreak has killed 7.3 million turkeys in the US, according to Department of Agriculture figures and Watt. Global media.
Avian flu appeared in 42 states in 2022 and continues to spread as the holiday season approaches.
Elam predicted that Thanksgiving will not be the only holiday marked by more expensive food. He said that Christmas will be no different.
“So the combination of higher wholesale prices and higher costs for everything the grocer buys, including the cost of their labor, would argue that we’re going to have record retail prices for turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Elam said. .
Although the higher price reflects a lower turkey population this Thanksgiving season, Elam said he is confident the birds will not become completely unavailable.
“I think if someone is willing to pay the most likely higher prices in retail stores, they should be able to buy a turkey if they really want it,” Elam said.
The current price for a 10- to 16-pound Butterball turkey is about $24.07 at Walmart.