Is there a turkey shortage? How much will Thanksgiving cost?

First, stay calm. Despite a series of breathless headlines about apocalyptic shortages, chances are you’ll have no problem finding a turkey to grace your Thanksgiving table this year.

But, giant sized birds can be a little rare, and no matter how many friends and family you plan to feed for the holidays, the whole spread is going to cost you around 20% off. more than it lasted. year.

It is according to the results of the American Farm Bureau’s 37th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey released on Wednesday.

What’s driving up the price of Thanksgiving dinner this year?

Avian flu outbreaks, higher feed costs and smaller commercial flocks have driven up the cost of turkeys this year, and the Farm Bureau report, using national data collected October 18-31, found average prices of $1.81 per pound, up 21% from last year. At this turkey price, the Farm Bureau estimates that a typical Thanksgiving meal for 10 this year will cost $64.05, up more than $10 from last year’s $53.31 and up about $17 above 2020’s $46.90.

Utah and other western states will have the highest average Thanksgiving costs for 10 this year at $71.37, with southern states the most affordable at an average of $58.42 for the meal , according to the report.

The Farm Bureau’s informal survey shopping list includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, butter rolls, peas, cranberries, vegetable platter, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk, all in sufficient quantities to serve a family of 10. with lots of leftovers.

But, the bureau’s report also included updated information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service which revealed that prices had fallen so far this month and that “characteristic prices” for turkeys frozen whole had fallen to 95 cents per pound for the week of November 3-9.

As turkey prices drop ahead of the big day of the big bird, continuous inflation will have an impact on the entire menu, regardless of the star dish.

“General inflation that reduces consumers’ purchasing power is a significant contributing factor to the increase in the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner this year,” said the American Farm Bureau Federation’s chief economist, Roger Cryan, in a statement accompanying the report. “General inflation has been 7% to 9% in recent months, while the latest Consumer Price Index report for food eaten at home shows a 12% increase year on year. last.”

Cryan also noted that the supply of whole turkeys available to consumers should be sufficient this year, although there may be temporary regional shortages in some states where bird flu was detected earlier this year.

Getting your gobble-gobble shouldn’t be a problem

In a report released last month by Texas A&M TodayTexas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist David Anderson said he was not concerned about a shortage of whole birds for the holidays.

He explained that supplies of stored turkey accumulate throughout the year to ensure they are available for major grocers in November. Most grocers have order contracts with suppliers established up to a year in advance. Demand from large buyers such as large grocers will be the priority in terms of available supplies.

Anderson said whole turkey cold storage inventories were about 3% lower than last year according to USDA cold storage inventory data, indicating that suppliers are striving to meet holiday demand. While the data shows about 13% fewer tom turkeys in storage, there are about 12% more hens in storage.

Whole turkeys could be priced higher at grocery stores, he said, but grocers may also incur losses on whole birds as features or specials to lure consumers into stores hoping that they continue to buy other items.

“As a consumer, it might be a good idea to have a strategy this year,” Anderson said. “Last year when the prices were high, I went to the store on the first day because we wanted a particular size. The store had promotions on them at the time, but I saw that a store had great deal on turkeys the day before Thanksgiving, they still had turkeys on hand and needed to move them, which resulted in lower prices.