Here’s why you’ll be paying more for a turkey this Thanksgiving

USDA says frozen turkey production is 24% lower than average 3-year volumes

Thanksgiving turkey dinner (Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.)

Frozen turkey production and inflation are driving up the prices for Thanksgiving staples this year.

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows inventories of frozen whole turkeys and turkey parts were lower than last year. At the end of August, the USDA said 428.1 million pounds of turkey meat were in storage, 24% lower than average three-year volumes. August is the latest date a turkey chick can mature in time to be harvested by the holiday, according to the USDA.

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“Stocks of frozen turkey meat typically follow a seasonal pattern, building throughout the year until the fall, when retailers prepare to meet holiday demand. In 2021, the seasonal build-up was less pronounced than usual, and stock volumes appear to have peaked before starting an earlier-than-normal decline,” the agency said.

The USDA also said turkey prices are up 22% from last year and cost increases are blamed on the drop in production and inflation.

The government said Wednesday its consumer price index soared 6.2% from a year ago — the biggest 12-month jump since 1990, according to the Associated Press.

According to CBS News, a spokesperson with Butterball, the nation’s biggest turkey supplier, said it has seen “early and brisk” sales of whole turkeys.

“With two weeks left until Thanksgiving, we can affirm that there will be Butterball turkeys available in stores this season, but we do anticipate that smaller turkeys might be more difficult to find,” the spokesperson told CBS News.

On top of the drop in production, supply chain issues are making it more difficult to find certain products in stores. According to Bloomberg, food inflation has been worsening nationwide due to a shortage of workers at meatpacking plants and transportation companies.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.