Higher prices and fewer options expected for holiday turkeys

Photo Credit: National Turkey Federation

A livestock economist is predicting higher prices and fewer options in the turkey aisle this year as Thanksgiving approaches.

David Anderson with Texas A&M University Extension tells Brownfield turkey production is down about 5% on the year.

Fewer birds and fewer pounds being produced. That is really a longer-term response to lack of profitability over the last few years and higher feed costs have cut into that as well.”

Anderson says that takes a toll on prices given that the national wholesale average for whole hens is $1.35 per pound compared to $1.14 last year and the five-year average of $1.06. That may mean fewer deals at your grocery store.

“In the past, if you spent so many dollars you could get a discount on your turkey, or even a free turkey. These higher prices make it a lot harder for a grocery store to put together those kinds of features.”

He says less production might also mean fewer options.

“If you like a fresh verse a frozen bird, or you have a certain brand you like, or a certain weight you prefer, you might want to shop early and start looking around.”

He says turkey remains a Thanksgiving tradition in many American homes, but more families are turning to other meats like brisket and chicken instead of turkey for the following Christmas meal.

Interview with David Anderson

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