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USDA weighs in on turkey prices: Inflation is leveling off

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With Thanksgiving approaching quickly and numerous reports on the high price of turkeys coming out, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has weighed in on the issue. America’s farmers and producers have been hard at work every day to ensure that families can fill their plates and celebrate loved ones this holiday. 

This year, poultry producers were hit particularly hard with challenges such as an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The HPAI outbreak resulted in the loss of over 50 million birds, including 8 million turkeys. 

While the American Farm Bureau Federation uses slightly different products in their report, the good news is that as indicated by the AFBF, prices dropped since their November 3-9 survey. In fact, According to the USDA’s report, inflation is plateauing in grocery stores across the country. The price of a large fresh turkey will cost just 2 cents per pound more than last year, just a one percent increase, while a frozen turkey will cost 9 cents more per pound. 

Below are the average retail cost of Thanksgiving staples, based on AMS Market News Retail Reports (JPG, 187 KB) for the week ending on November 11:

Fresh Turkey Hen (12 lbs.) – $1.56 per pound
Sweet Potatoes – $0.86 per pound
Russet Potatoes – $0.98 per pound
Cranberries – $2.24 per 12 oz. bag
Green beans – $1.67 per pound
Milk (1 gallon) – $3.73 per gallon
*Overall, this represents a 1% increase over the last year for these selected items combined.

Frozen Turkey Hen (12 lbs.) – $0.97 per pound
Sweet Potatoes –$0.86 per pound
Russet Potatoes – $0.98 per pound
Cranberries – $2.24 per 12 oz. bag
Green beans – $1.67 per pound
Milk (1 gallon) – $3.73 per gallon
*Overall, this represents a 6% increase over last year for these selected items combined.

As the Thanksgiving holiday gets closer, grocers often begin to offer promotions and discounts for turkeys, including by selling turkeys as loss leaders with costs lower than the wholesale price. Looking at advertised retail turkey prices prior to early November may not reflect the advertised retail prices consumers see when they buy their turkeys closer to Thanksgiving.

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