Americans expected to pay more for Thanksgiving turkey this year than ever before, but residents of some states are experiencing far higher prices than their counterparts in others as inflation continues to impact the economy.
The average household was projected to pay $34.15 for a 15-pound turkey this year. Residents of Hawaii, which typically has a higher cost of living than the rest of the nation, and residents of Alaska, the only state without a native turkey population, saw prices of $50.35 and $49.85, respectively, according to an analysis from FinanceBuzz. On the mainland, however, residents of South Carolina paid an average of $38.85 per bird.
States such as Minnesota and Idaho and coastal states such as California, New York, and New Jersey also saw turkey prices higher than the national average. The least expensive birds are found in Mississippi and Texas, where prices are $26.35 and $28.30, respectively.
The elevated turkey prices occur as an outbreak of the avian flu impacts flocks in 46 states and 332 counties, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Americans consume 46 million turkeys each Thanksgiving, according to data from the University of Illinois, roughly equating to the number of poultry impacted by the outbreak.
FinanceBuzz recorded the prices of multiple turkeys sold by chain grocery stores in each state for their analysis. More data from the company revealed that other Thanksgiving fare, such as potatoes, pies, and stuffing, are significantly more expensive this holiday season.
According to a report from the American Farm Bureau Association, households preparing for 1tenpeople during the holiday were projected to spend an average of $64.05 for the meal, a considerable increase from the $53.31 families spent to feed the same number of people last year. Americans in the western portion of the country were projected to pay $71.37, while those in southern states were expected to spend a more modest $58.42.
“General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers is a significant factor contributing to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” Farm Bureau Chief Economist Roger Cryan remarked in a press release. “Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine. The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs and lighter processing weights.”
Inflation has slowed economic activity over the past two years as American consumers and businesses tighten their belts. Price levels rose 7.7% between October 2021 and October 2022, according to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing that headline inflation has begun to decline amid contractionary policy from the Federal Reserve.
The lower headline number, however, was driven by declines in areas such as used vehicles, apparel, and medical care services, which have a lower day-to-day impact on consumers. Overall, food prices rose 0.6% month-to-month while energy prices rose 1.8%, the first such increase since June. Shelter costs rose 0.8%, marking their fastest increase since the beginning of the year.