Expect higher prices, fewer options on Thanksgiving turkeys
Consumers can expect higher prices and fewer options for whole turkeys before Thanksgiving, according to an expert from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension livestock economist, Bryan-College Station, said turkey production was down 5% from last year, but prices have risen significantly. Fewer turkeys combined with a higher food supply chain and logistics costs like feed, fuel and labor have pushed prices higher.
The national wholesale average for whole hens is $ 1.35 a pound, up from $ 1.14 a pound at the same time last year, Anderson said. The five-year average price per pound is $ 1.06 for these turkeys.
Wholesale boneless, skinless turkey breasts hit $ 3.45 a pound, up from $ 1.80 a pound last year, with a five-year average of $ 2.74 a pound.
Anderson said the number of turkeys and pounds produced were at their lowest since 2015, in response to lower demand.
“It has a lot to do with the fact that they produce fewer turkeys,” he said. “Other factors are part of it, but it has more to do with years of declining per capita consumption and long-term demand issues for the turkey industry.”
Holiday on-demand dips for whole turkeys
Anderson said the marketing and economic changes for turkey have been driven by consumer choices during the holidays, which has historically boosted the overall bird market.
The pandemic clearly had an impact on the number of holiday gatherings last year, which did not help the industry, but in recent years consumers have switched to other meat options, including especially for traditional holiday lunches and dinners beyond Thanksgiving.
“We usually think of Thanksgiving and Christmas when we talk about whole turkeys, but a growing number of consumers have chosen other options like prime rib or brisket or an entirely different menu that represented that second bird,” a- he declared. “A high percentage of that among 330 million consumers shouldn’t be a big deal.”
Anderson said the other big chunk of turkey consumption – in the form of deli meats – has increased slightly in recent years, but is being overtaken by other grocery and restaurant offerings.
Fewer options for master turkeys
Anderson said pork, beef and chicken prices are also on the rise, but other factors, ranging from bottlenecks to feed prices and higher demand, are behind of these increases. As well as hitting consumers in the pocket, declining whole bird inventories could mean it could be more difficult to find the prototypical master turkeys for Thanksgiving.
Lower supplies and higher costs could also mean that individual grocery stores might not offer special promotions on whole birds which are typically used to attract shoppers in the hope that they will fill their shopping carts with food. other related articles.
“They may not be able to find birds of certain sizes that they are used to, or they may be frozen rather than fresh,” he said. “This year buying a turkey may need to be more flexible depending on what is available.