Turkey farmers and processors yelped over a farm group survey on Wednesday that said high turkey prices were driving up the cost of a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner. “Turkeys and good deals are available!” said the National Turkey Federation in one of the few times the American Farm Bureau Federation has been challenged on its spot checks of holiday grocery prices.
Bird flu will have a “meaningful impact” on turkey supplies in coming months, said the head of Hormel Foods, the second-largest turkey processor in the country, on Thursday. Chief executive Jim Snee said Hormel anticipated “large supply gaps” for its Jennie-O Turkey Store operations in the months ahead because of flock losses.
Americans can cook the classic Thanksgiving meal featuring roast turkey and pumpkin pie for $5.33 a person, according to an informal survey of supermarket prices. But while all sides agree that ingredients for the meal will cost more this year, there is a wide range of viewpoints on how large the increase will be.
In a brief ceremony that mixed traditional holiday wishes with predictable humor, President Trump “pardoned” a 36-pound white-feathered tom turkey, Drumstick, from becoming a White House meal.
It was a comic skit on Portlandia: two hipsters asking about the provenance of the locally raised chicken being served in a restaurant. But farce has become fact this holiday season under a pilot program by Cargill that allows consumers to identify the farm that raised their turkey.
A spot check of grocery prices in 39 states found that the ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving meal will cost 1.5-percent less than last year, and, at $49.12 for a dinner for 10, are the lowest since 2013, said the American Farm Bureau Federation. The biggest item for the meal, in weight and dollars — 16-pound turkey — costs $1.40 a pound, or 1.4-percent less than last year.
When Americans shop for turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and other ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal, they will get a break on prices for the second time in seven years. The price tag for groceries to cook a Thanksgiving feast for 10 people would total $49.87, said the largest U.S. farm group, which has conducted the informal survey of grocery prices since 1968.
The bird-flu epidemic cut into turkey supplies a year ago, but there are no supply issues this year, said Feedstuffs. Turkey production in the current quarter is forecast up by 100 million pounds compared to the same three months in 2015, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC).
If you’re tired of cooking for Thanksgiving, Neiman Marcus has you covered. The high-end department story is known for its luxurious prices, but this year, the company has sparked fresh outrage by selling frozen collard greens for $66 a pound (plus $15.50 in shipping), says NPR. Angry Twitter users are calling the side dish #GentrifiedGreens.
The centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal, a roasted turkey, will cost about 6 percent more than a year ago, the result of the avian influenza epidemic that swept turkey and poultry farms in the Midwest last spring.
Turkey processor Jennie-O, owned by Hormel Foods, said it will lay off 233 workers at its plant in Faribault, 50 miles south of Minneapolis, because bird flu has reduced the number of turkeys available for slaughter, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Avian influenza has hit 80 poultry farms in Minnesota, with losses of more than 3.8 million turkeys. More than half of the 76 turkey farms with an outbreak appear to be Jennie-O suppliers, says the Star-Tribune. The layoffs in Faribault will take effect on May 26. The company said, "We do not have an anticipated return-to-work date at this time."
A spot-check of grocery store prices across the country says the cost of materials for Thanksgiving dinner is nearly unchanged for the fourth year in a row.