There’s a Turkey Shortage This Year—Here’s Why You Should Buy Your Bird Early

There’s a Turkey Shortage This Year—Here’s Why You Should Buy Your Bird Early

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Thanks to a turkey shortage, prices are way, way up.

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For lots of people who celebrate Thanksgiving, the highlight of the holiday is the turkey. Whether you cook your turkey yourself or order a turkey from a pro, it can set the tone for the entire tone for your Thanksgiving table. But there’s a chance that you’ll either have to go without turkey or pay a higher price this year, thanks to a turkey shortage.

The price of most uncooked poultry has jumped about 17% this year, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). For turkey specifically, the shortage has caused a particularly steep increase, raising the price per pound of a whole frozen turkey from $1.15 to $1.46, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Why Are We Having a Turkey Shortage?

Avian influenza: There’s a particularly bad case of avian flu going around this year—possibly the worst in history, according to The Washington Post. The highly pathogenic form of avian flu has decimated commercial and backyard flocks in 43 states. Farmers must cull turkeys exposed to the virus, since this form can transmit to humans and mutate. The last thing we need is another pandemic.
Inflation: Have you noticed that cold cuts cost much more than they did last year? That inflation applies to whole birds as well, and fewer turkeys mean increased prices. Farmers are also paying more for feed and other necessities thanks to inflation, which is contributing to the rising cost. Other Thanksgiving staples like butter, milk, and canned fruits and vegetables are suffering from higher price tags too, with a predicted butter shortage on the way.

What Can We Do?
Your best bet for a guaranteed turkey this year is to buy your turkey early and freeze it. Turkeys can last up to a year in the freezer without losing quality. There’s also the option to buy a turkey that’s already frozen, which will significantly cut costs. Make sure you figure out how to defrost a turkey in advance and your Thanksgiving dinner will go without a hitch. In case of an emergency, here’s the best way to cook a frozen turkey.

Or, if it’s not a Thanksgiving deal-breaker for you, consider chicken, duck, or another alternative main dish for Thanksgiving this year.

Originally Published: November 04, 2022

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