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Turkey Shortages May Affect Thanksgiving Meals

An avain flu is spreading throughout the U.S.
Photo: Richard Wozniak | Shutterstock

You can’t have Thanksgiving without a turkey — well, you can. But this year, you may have to. A national turkey shortage is ruffling the feathers of many suppliers. 

A deadly avian flu is quickly flying through the U.S. and has already killed over 45 million birds, including 5.4 million turkeys this year alone. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the flu has also affected commercial flocks and egg-laying hens, hence why egg prices have risen as well. 

Not only has the illness wiped out millions of birds, but the shortage is also expected to raise the price of the Thanksgiving staple. Good Morning America reported that a 16-pound turkey typically costs around $24, but this year, the same bird will cost closer to $50. Pre-sliced deli turkey has also seen a spike. In September 2022 the average price was around $7 per pound, which is 112% more expensive than average prices in 2021. 

"This is particularly challenging for turkey production because it takes a really long time to grow a turkey to its market weight of about 30 pounds,” American Farm Bureau Federation senior economist Veronica Nigh told Good Morning America. “So when we saw these significant shocks to supply this spring, we're now seeing it in grocery stores reflected in those prices today." 

The Krazy Coupon Lady explained that inflation has also hit other Thanksgiving sides and staples: biscuits, rolls, muffins, sauces and gravy are up 17% this year, frozen baked goods are up 18% and canned fruits and vegetables have increased 16%. She estimated that the average Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people was $53 in 2021, but this year families could be paying well over $100 for their entire meal. 

If you are worried about finding a Turkey to celebrate the holiday with your friends and family, purchase the bird now and store it in the freezer before crowds rush to buy one.