USDA Reports Lower Turkey Costs as Thanksgiving Nears

November 18, 2015
Washington, DC

Store prices for frozen turkey drops 18 cents/pound from previous week
USDA’s latest weekly survey of advertised retail prices for the consumers’ choice of frozen turkey hens dropped 18 cents per pound from the previous week and remained just a penny cheaper per pound than last year in the week before Thanksgiving, as observed by the National Turkey Federation. The official USDA report is the most current authoritative assessment of retail turkey prices, surveying 20,591 retail supermarket outlets through November 19.  

The USDA National Retail Report on Turkey shows the average price of frozen turkey hens in its survey of grocery stores down from last week’s $1.08 per pound to now 90 cents per pound, which is also just one cent less per pound than last year. The National Turkey Federation also noted that shoppers can also find lower prices at nearly 49 cents per pound in many supermarkets offering discounts for frozen turkey as part of their annual promotions to attract Thanksgiving shoppers.  

“Promotional discounts for frozen turkey hens are an excellent buy for shoppers, in addition to regular advertised prices,” said Joel Brandenberger, National Turkey Federation president. “The growing and marketing of Thanksgiving turkey is handled specifically to meet the annual demand at Thanksgiving with discount promotions to bring shoppers in for the biggest grocery week of the year. Also, because of that featured promotion, stores work much earlier to secure their supplies by contracting with their wholesale distributors.”

Losses among the turkey population from avian influenza were held to 3 percent and disproportionately centered on a few states in the upper Midwest, while other regions of the widely dispersed growing states continued to produce turkeys. The avian flu struck growers in late April, with the last case over in June.  USDA projects 228 million turkeys will be produced by year’s end. National Turkey Federation estimates Americans eat 46 million turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner, most being of the flash-frozen quality, produced and contracted for grocers beginning in March, before the onset of avian influenza. Meanwhile, turkey farmers in the upper Midwest have returned to clean barns with fresh poults to grow into each new flock of turkeys.

Watch the short, animated infographic on tons of turkey for Thanksgiving