WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: Tarragon-Butter Roasted Spatchcocked Turkey for Thanksgiving photographed for Voraciously in Washington, DC on October 28, 2021 (Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post via Getty Images; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Thanksgiving Turkey Prices Are Skyrocketing For A Big Reason
By Elaina Friedman
In early 2022, U.S. chickens were under threat from a lethal avian flu outbreak, and now another member of the poultry family has faced a similar pandemic. According to an October 2022 USDA report, turkey production is seriously low due to a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak that has killed more than 6 million turkeys, leaving an "outsize impact on the industry."
Per a Texas A&M University study, wholesale turkey prices in October 2022 are more than 40 cents higher than last year's peak price, clocking in at $1.79 per pound. Many households, however, are sticking to tradition despite the high cost — Butterball’s annual outlook reported that 85% of participants are planning on serving turkey this year.
"[The flu] definitely did impact our availability and supply, and we won't have everything for everyone like we normally do; we just won't," said California turkey farmer Heidi Diestel. While the price of turkeys is expected to level out sometime in 2023, current turkey prices will cause many Thanksgiving dinner budgets to spill over.