There is a bright spot for the average American family this holiday season. While other problems may plague their pocketbook, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey is cheaper than ever. The cost of an average turkey – clocking in at 16 pounds – fell to $20.80. At $1.30 a pound, the price is down $0.91 on average. Turkey makes up nearly half of the overall cost for most Thanksgiving dinners. The totally tally for a family of 10 comes out to $48.91 – or $4.89 per person.
Other costs considered for this average include sweet potatoes, vegetables, dessert and even coffee. The only other item to show a marked decrease is stuffing. Cubed stuffing fell 19 cents over the past year. In contrast, sweet potatoes are up almost 10% as a result of poor weather conditions. Yet, the turkey price drop offset these raising costs, with no appreciable change from 2018’s $48.90 total meal cost.
Turkey Tech and Increasing Efficiency
Multiple factors have contributed to the continuing decline in turkey prices. This year’s marked drop comes in part due to the ongoing trade war. Higher export costs have resulted in a glut of domestic supplies on some products – turkey included. The continual decline in price prior to this drop pertains more to increasing technology and better practices.
In contrast to the 1970s, the average U.S. turkey produces 66% more meat – 25 pounds versus 15 pounds. As a result, fewer turkeys can produce more meat. The marked change in yield is a direct result of both genetics and housing developments. It also allows more product without increasing the adverse impact of the industry – waste products and resource usage.
Thanksgiving Options Coming in Below Average
For savvy shoppers, the average price can be brought down even further. The statistical cost presumes a fresh hen turkey from a high-profile brand. A frozen turkey comes in at $0.83 per pound – considerably lower than the fresh average.
Location also matters, with discount brands like Aldi’s charging as low as $0.59 a pound for frozen turkey. These low prices are used to entice customers to the store. While the profit margin on turkey may be low, grocery stores count on the higher profit margins of associated foods.
Article By: Adam Stone