GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Thankful is probably not how you’ll be feeling when you see the prices on turkeys this Thanksgiving.
An outbreak of avian influenza left a noticeable hole in spring’s flocks, according to the Wall Street Journal. And the disease could make a comeback this fall.
That damage to the supply has brought turkey prices to record levels and they’re likely to stay that way until after the November holiday.
As of Sept. 2, there have been about 40.8 million birds, including turkeys, affected across 39 states, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reports. WSJ reports that about 6 million of those birds are turkeys.
The state most impacted is Iowa with 15 affected commercial flocks and four affected backyard flocks for a total of 13.3 million birds affected.
North Carolina has reported nine affected commercial flocks with a total of 481,400 birds affected.
Breast meat had a cost of less than $2 a pound two years ago. Now, that price has soared over $6.50 a pound, WSJ reports citing market-research firm Urner Barry. Turkey hens, which account for most of the birds bought around Thanksgiving, cost 57% more than the five-year average.
Hormel Foods Corp. told WSJ that its supply for the Jennie-O Turkey Store brand dropped 20% in the first three months of the year compared to the first three months of 2021.
One of the ways that brands are dealing with this market shift is to send the turkeys to market earlier. That means the turkeys you do see in stores may be smaller than you’re used to.