SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Cooks will likely get their wanted turkey for Thanksgiving but it’s going to cost them more based on prices from this month.
Tyler Berens, the owner of Berens Market in Milbank, said frozen turkey prices per pound were up about 50 cents from last year.
“For the fresh ones…the price has gone up even more,” said Tyler Thuringer, the co-owner of the County Fair Food Store in Watertown.
The Oct. 28 USDA price report for turkeys listed a price range in the Midwest for frozen tom and hen turkeys at 87 cents to 99 cents per pound. The prices were different in other parts of the nation including $1.99 per pound for frozen toms and hens in the northeast.
Hannah Halldorson, the communications director for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, said she’s heard several different numbers on price increases for turkeys but said 67% to 69% increases over last year are the consistent numbers.
Although price has increased, Halldorson said many grocery stores will be offering holiday deals or sales on turkeys this season which can help reduce the price.
Turkeys have been lost to avian flu which has impacted the price of turkey but inflation is a bigger factor.
Growers are dealing with higher feed and other costs, Halldorson said. Those increased costs influence prices.
Berens said like other grocery items, inflation has caused turkey prices to increase. Trucking costs and even lack of labor have impacted prices, Berens said.
In order for customers to have their Thanksgiving turkey, grocery stores need to order their frozen and fresh turkeys in advance.
“We’re required to pre-book a couple months in advance so the warehouse has an idea (of need),” Thuringer said.
Typically, grocers don’t learn the price of the turkey until a month prior to delivery, Berens said.
The price most often considered for holiday meals is the per pound price of frozen turkey.
“In my area, there is not so much demand for fresh (turkey),” Berens said.
Thuringer said his store carries some fresh turkeys but, like Berens’ market, there is not much demand for fresh turkeys. “We order as we need to keep it on hand,” Thuringer said.
Although birds were lost to avian flu this year, only 2% to 3% of all birds grown were affected, Halldorson.
“There will be plenty of turkey for every table,” Halldorson said.
Berens and Thuringer said although turkey will be in demand for Thanksgiving, the demand has changed.
“I would say…it’s declined slightly,” Berens said. The price increases of the past few years has helped to decrease demand, he said.
Price is a factor with demand so are demographic changes.
“Traditions are changing and the family dynamic is changing,” Thuringer said.
That has caused a slight decrease in the demand for turkeys but it’s also caused a change in what consumers want.
Halldorson said consumers often wanted smaller birds during COVID-19 because gatherings were smaller.
The most popular turkey at his store is a 12 to 14-pound turkey, Thuringer said. “We do have people that go bigger,” he said. Others want a smaller turkey at 10 to 12 pounds.
“We’re mostly looking at 10 to 12-pound turkeys,” Berens said.
Growers in Minnesota adjusted to the demand for smaller birds, Halldorson said. The growers also produce birds for an international market in which there is demand for larger birds and even in the U.S., there is demand for larger turkeys, she said.