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Why turkeys might be more expensive this year

Posted at 9:15 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 23:15:10-05

SALT LAKE CITY — While ringing up the Thanksgiving turkey at the cashier, you might have noticed a higher bill than last year.

The American Farm Bureau reports that the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner has gone up 20% since 2021.

Every January, Snider Brothers Meats in Holladay reserves over a thousand turkeys to ensure the store is well-stocked come November. This year, they received a call from their supplier that prices were going up.

“Turkey prices, just compared to last year, have already gone up 20%,” said general manager Jacob Wilson.

Wilson said processing delays, labor shortages, and the Avian Flu played a role in the cost increase.

“I know that in Utah well over a quarter of the fresh birds already had been lost to the Avian Flu,” he said.

Farmer Shayn Bowler at Utah Natural Meat said fuel and feed costs stopped them from raising turkeys this year.

“A ton of turkey feed a couple of years ago was probably around 300 dollars,” said Bowler. “Now, we’re probably $500+.”

Bowler typically raises around 700 turkeys for Thanksgiving and butchers them all himself. They sell the poultry at the store on their West Jordan farm.

“Farmers are used to just pushing on and having to get through difficulty,” said Bowler. “That’s part of what we do.”

Some of his loyal customers have just switched over to a ham or roast this year.

If a store is out of turkey or if the price is too much, Wilson wants you to remember why you’re planning the meal in the first place.

“There’s been years where we’ve sold out of turkeys and there’s none to take home ourselves. Those are the years that we start new traditions. Find alternative options,” he said. “It’s really more about the family at the table than what’s on top of it.”