Why Thanksgiving Turkey Prices Are Soaring in 2022

The price of turkey is higher this year than in 2021. However, due to widespread seasonal discounts, shoppers are unlikely to see a 17% increase, as some data suggests.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many Americans have already headed to grocery stores across the country in preparation for the holiday celebrations.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) lately claims on Twitter that thanksgiving turkey prices are up 17% this year due to inflation.


Have Turkey Prices Up 17% This Year?



This requires context.

The claim that turkey prices are up 17% this year needs context.

Prices for certain types of poultry, including turkey, are up almost 17% this October compared to last October, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows. But that number doesn’t take into account seasonal retailer discounts on turkeys, which typically take place each November before Thanksgiving. Taking these discounts into account, the price increase is significantly lower.


The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks the prices of everyday items to gauge changes in the economy. In October, the BLS found the cost of the food considered”other poultry‘, like turkey, Cornish chickens and goose, elevated 17% from October 2021 to October 2022. Blackburn and Cruz who continued to tweet 5 Nov and Nov 14both named that percentage in their tweets.

However, the BLS data does not account for retailer discounts on turkeys, which typically occur in November before Thanksgiving.

Each week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) tracks turkey prices by surveying supermarkets across the country. In its report for the week ended November 16, the USDA found that grocery stores are currently selling fresh whole turkeys for about $1.56 per pound – up 1% compared to the same data from 2021. Meanwhile, frozen whole turkeys are selling for an average of $0.96 per pound – about 8% up than last year at $0.89.

More from VERIFY: No, eating turkey does not make you sleepy

VERIFY also looked at several weekly ads from supermarkets across the country, including Aldi, giant, Publixand target. We have found that selling prices for turkeys at each store currently range from $0.37 to $1.69 per pound for frozen and fresh turkeys.

Although the price of turkey is higher than last year, most Thanksgiving shoppers won’t end up paying 17% more for their bird than they did in 2021.

Then why are the prices higher? The USDA says farmers are faced with higher costs overall this year due to inflation. Multiple outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu (HPAI or bird flu) also have one noticeable effect on turkey production in 2022, pushing up some prices.

Despite these factors, the American Farm Bureau says there should be enough turkeys to meet Thanksgiving demand.

More from VERIFY: Refrigerated Thanksgiving leftovers are safe to eat for 4 days

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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/verify/money-verify/turkey-prices-2022-thanksgiving-inflation-bird-flu-fact-check/536-fcd7dbf3-ae94-4704-98fa-1cc5912f5b21 Why Thanksgiving Turkey Prices Are Soaring in 2022

Laura Coffey

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