AUSTIN, Texas - As food prices across the board go up, a Thanksgiving staple is no exception.
Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Turkey Market News Report," released on Friday, showed consumers can expect to pay close to 22% more for a turkey compared to last year. Compared to the prior three-year average, the average price has increased more than 40%.
Turkey meat production in the United States from January to September 2021 was down about 2% from a year earlier, according to the USDA.
"We ordered our turkeys months in advance to make sure we’d be able to service customers," said Westley Skidmore, purchasing director at Wheatsville Co-op. "We’re at over 500 pre-orders right now, because that’s the only sure way you’re going to guarantee yourself a turkey the week of Thanksgiving."
It's cost them more this year too. Along with price increases, Skidmore has noticed supply shortages across the board - not just among turkeys. "You put in orders to your vendors and then your truck arrives, and they say they’re out of stock," said Skidmore. "You find out the day of."
Though they ordered several hundred more turkeys compared to last year, Skidmore recommended pre-ordering online to guarantee a turkey Thanksgiving Day.
A spokesperson for Fresh Plus Grocery also told FOX 7 that they had plenty of turkeys on hand as of Tuesday.
A spokesperson for HEB shared a statement that said in part:
"Our stores are in strong supply and we continue to restock products daily. We may have purchasing limits on certain items, but temporary limits are a proven way to ensure product availability for customers."