(WKBN) — Thanksgiving turkey may be harder to find — and more expensive — this year due to the spread of the avian flu virus as well as inflation.
According to a Wells Fargo analysis, turkey prices are projected to rise as high as 73% compared to last year. Customers could spend $1.64 per pound for a frozen whole-hen weighing from 8 to 16 pounds.
Kristin Mullin with the Ohio Grocers Association says this could vary depending where you shop.
“There’s nothing across the board that I can say is going to happen to turkey prices. It’s going to be a store, and a community decision based on what that grocer wants to do,” Mullin says.
Steve Badurik with Badurik’s Butcher Block in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, says his business is feeling the effects of inflation.
“Turkey prices this year are probably about 15% up,” he says.
According to Badurik, last year’s turkeys cost about $3 per pound. But this year, they could cost around $3.39.
On top of turkeys costing more money, the avian flu has affected the turkey population.
“[The U.S. Department of Agriculture] is estimating about 6 million turkey production numbers are affected, and we’re looking at total birds affected at like 50 million,” says Haley Shoemaker, coordinator of the Ohio farm business analysis program at The Ohio State University extension.
The influenza outbreak isn’t new. U.S. poultry producers have been monitoring and dealing with it since April.
Though there’s a population decrease due to bird flu outbreaks, Shoemaker says as long as you’re cooking your poultry thoroughly and making sure your surfaces and hands are clean, it’s still safe to eat.
Mullins says there are some measures in place to meet the demand this year.
“They’re pulling the turkeys smaller and younger so that they can get them prepped and ready to be in the cases,” she says. “If you’re looking for a 25-pound turkey, that’s where you may run into some problems or some issues.”
Instead, she suggests buying two turkeys.