Turkey Prices Are Up, But It's Not As Bad As You Think

Blame the bird flu.

Here's something not to be thankful for. The market price for turkey has jumped considerably this year. 

USDA data shows that fresh turkeys are going for an average of $1.60 per pound right now. At this time last year, they cost around $1.36 a pound, according to The Associated Press.

Thanksgiving dinner might cost a bit more this year.
Thanksgiving dinner might cost a bit more this year.

The outlook for frozen turkeys, which make up the bulk of Thanksgiving purchases, is much better. Their wholesale cost is only about $1.30 per pound. Still, economists at Purdue University predict that for the last three months of the year, turkeys will have been about 20 percent more expensive than last year.

Turkey production was disrupted by a bird flu outbreak earlier this year, the USDA said. As a result, fewer turkeys are making it to store shelves, and the turkeys are on average smaller than usual. The National Turkey Federation says that at least 8 million turkeys were lost to illness, CBS News reports.

As WQAD points out, the market price of turkeys doesn't always correlate to the actual in-store cost. Grocery stores are under pressure to keep prices low to prevent customers from shopping elsewhere.

If you're still worried about keeping costs down this holiday season, ham might be a good alternative. The price of pork is actually down about 15 percent, per Bloomberg.

Plus, as famed chef and restauranteur David Chang says, "Turkey is on the tail end of the list of delicious birds." He suggests making capons or, if you're sick of poultry, he says his mom's short ribs recipe is "the best thing ever."

Trust me, I've made it. It is that good:


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