American consumers can expect to pay more for their holiday turkey this year, as the industry finally draws down excess supplies that have kept prices low in recent years.
2020 turkey producer prices at roughly $0.78/pound are at the highest levels since 2016. Retail prices, while higher, tend to move in tandem with producer prices.
Turkey poult production this July was 5.8% lower than July 2019 and 3.7% lower than the 5-year average. It takes 16-22 weeks for a poult to grow to mature weight, so poult production increases in July for fresh turkey available by Thanksgiving.
Turkeys in cold storage, which are typically stocked for the Thanksgiving holiday rush, were down 11.5% at the end of September versus last year. The United States is the world’s largest turkey producer and its largest exporter of turkeys. Some 222 million turkeys are raised annually on about 2,500 farms in the US.
COVID-19 has made this Thanksgiving one of the most unusual ever, with less travel, smaller holiday gatherings, and fewer restaurant reservations. On top of that, many holiday celebrations may now be seeking out substitutes for the traditional turkey meal.
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