November 29, 2021

Food Prices Continue to Increase Ahead of Thanksgiving

Food Prices Continue to Increase Ahead of Thanksgiving 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

As the holidays approach, the price to prepare your celebratory dinner will likely be higher this year. Factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages, transportation costs, and supply chain issues are to blame. 

David Anderson, Texas A&M professor, and AgriLife Extension Economist blames the decline in production from the previous year for the rising cost of your Thanksgiving turkey. “Turkey production is down this year about 5% compared to a year ago,” Anderson said. “Whether we’re looking at the whole bird or pounds, we’re down about 5% in total turkey production this year.”

According to a recent study by the Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness Industry Advisors, turkey prices for producers are 25% more than prior years, and 50% more than the prior 5-year average. Experts say this does not mean prices for consumers will as drastic.   

The number of turkeys and pounds produced is the lowest since 2015, resulting in the wholesale price of turkeys increasing by 17%. The production cut was fueled by many factors, such as decreased consumer demand, higher food supply chain costs, and increased feed costs. 

One silver lining according to Anderson, is that this could lead to higher profits for producers. “Those profits are the signal to produce more,” Anderson said. “If they can have a consistent return to some profitability, then we can start talking about expansion. That’s something I’d be looking forward to next year is can we get back to some more sustainable profits and some more production that could lead to some lower prices for all of us consumers.”

While this might seem daunting, experts remain confident that the food supply is stable. Veronica Nigh, American Farm Bureau Federation Senior Economist stated in a press release, "You might pay more for it than you want, but you will be able to find it." Anderson agreed with this notion, expressing that “It’s not a case of running out. It’s not a case really of a shortage or anything. Those are kind of some loaded terms for us economists,” Anderson said. “What it means is we’re producing less, and we have higher prices because of it. You might want to get out there earlier to get that perfect size. It’s not going to be the case that there aren’t any, but it may be the case you may not find exactly what you’re looking for.”