A Turkey Shortage in Time for Thanksgiving?

As Thanksgiving creeps closer, supply of turkeys is at a low forcing US grocers to pay the highest ever wholesale prices. Farmers report production being 3.3 percent lower from last year and wholesale prices have increase 16 percent in the last year. Last week turkey prices stood at $1.24 per pound, suggesting higher prices overall for supermarkets this season. However, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, Jennifer Bartashus, suggests higher wholesale prices don’t necessarily mean higher prices for consumers as grocers will likely continue to sell turkeys below cost in order to attract shoppers.

The National Turkey Federation reports 20 percent of annual turkey consumption occurs on Thanksgiving Day. However, the industry is still struggling to recover from high costs of feed grain during the 2012 drought, which reduced output of meat, and thus an increase in the price. The American Farm Bureau Federation reports the cost of feeding 10 people a traditional meal last year on Thanksgiving to be approximately $49.04. This years costs, to be updated on November 20, are expected to be higher.

Prices for all types of meat are experiencing hikes across the US due to tight supplies- pork and beef reached record highs in September likely linked to a fatal virus which diminished the populations of cattle and pigs.

Those price increases are leaking into the poultry market as consumers switch to cheaper alternatives to beef and pork,” said Alex Melton, an economist with the USDA Economic Research Service in Washington, as quoted by Bloomberg News.

Production within the turkey industry is projected to increase by 3.2 percent next year, thanks to a decline in the cost of feed.


Read more here- “Thanksgiving’s 46 Million Turkeys Getting Expensive,” (Megan Durisin, Bloomberg)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.


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