Higher-Priced, Smaller Turkeys Likely on the Holiday Menu, Says CoBank

A new analysis from CoBank suggests consumers will see smaller and higher-priced turkeys this Thanksgiving season.

After grappling with staff shortages, plant closures, and supply issues, the turkey industry has been hit by yet another problem in 2022: the worst Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in U.S. history. For example, HPAI was found on six turkey farms across southern Indiana earlier this year. That led to the depopulation of more than 171,000 commercial turkeys this year in Indiana.

The average slaughter weight is below the three-year average. However, there will be a sufficient number of birds. Turkeys will be available, but they will be more expensive and probably a bit smaller than what home chefs are used to.

Seasonal cold storage whole bird inventory volumes are at their lowest level since 2006. Wholesale, frozen turkeys are currently selling in the $1.70 per pound range, about 30 percent higher than last year. Fresh, boneless breast meat is trading at $6.50 per pound, a 350 percent increase versus last fall.

Source: NAFB News Service.