Record-high turkey prices could dampen this year’s Thanksgiving celebrations as avian influenza wipes out flocks and chokes the supply of birds.
Turkey hen prices have soared roughly 80% since the pandemic and 30% above their cost in 2021, Bloomberg reported.
Turkey inventory numbers in August were the lowest since 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Over 460 bird flu cases have been detected across 33 states since February, according to lobbying group American Farm Bureau Federation.
The outbreak killed over 40 million birds in the first half of 2022, Bloomberg reported, and is “likely to only get worse,” an expert said.
“There’s nothing appearing on the horizon to suggest anything new is going to surface to help ease the supply-side pain for Thanksgiving turkeys,” Russ Whitman, senior vice president at commodity researcher Urner Barry, told the news site.
Jacinth Smiley, chief financial officer of turkey processor Hormel Foods, told an earnings call earlier this month that she expects turkey volumes to “be off by 30%” in the fourth quarter, which includes Thanksgiving, food industry news site Food Dive reported.