According to a USDA letter issued this month, turkey prices will rise as a result of this year's outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which killed 8 million turkeys in 2022. However, the USDA also stated that Russia's war on Ukraine and heat across the U.S. are two more factors that are driving up the cost of Thanksgiving essentials.
President Biden and his administration have frequently blamed Russia for widespread inflation, referring to rising food and energy prices as "Putin's price hike." Ukraine is a significant grain exporter, and Russia's efforts to obstruct those exports have resulted in price increases. However, prior to Russia's invasion, feed grain costs were rising along with the prices of many other commodities.
However, according to figures from the Biden administration, inflation began to rise almost immediately after Biden entered office in February 2021. The Biden administration stated that consumer prices were up 7.5% in the year ending in January 2022, just before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Inflation might reach 9.1% in the fiscal year ending June 2022, but strong increases were observed well before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Based on the USDA document, the Biden administration has made headway in combating rising grocery prices, noting that the 0.4% increase in grocery prices in October was the "smallest increase since December of last year."
In addition, the memo understated the impact of inflation on the cost of Thanksgiving meals in comparison to non-government estimates. Conforming to the report, the average cost of Thanksgiving retail mainstays such as fresh turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and green beans will be roughly 1% higher this year compared to last, with a frozen turkey costing 6% more.
However, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is up 20% over last year. Stuffing mix, frozen pie crusts, whipped cream, frozen peas, and dinner rolls have all climbed by more than 20%, according to the Farm Bureau.
While those prices are certain to remain high during the holiday season, turkey prices in supermarkets have not jumped as much. Beth Breeding, the National Turkey Federation's vice president of communications and marketing said, supermarket shops frequently cut turkey prices closer to Thanksgiving and utilize turkeys as loss leaders to attract customers.
Nonetheless, she stated that prices observed in actual stores in the days leading up to Thanksgiving are higher than last year, rising from around 93 cents a pound to $1 a pound, a 7% rise.