Your Thanksgiving party will cost more this year. Here because.

The result is a much higher price for a festive banquet than in previous years. An American Farm Bureau Federation report this month estimated that a Thanksgiving meal per 10 people it will drop to about $6.40 per person, a 20% increase from 2021.

“Last year was a challenge with availability. This year is a price challenge,” said Krishnakumar Davey, president of customer engagement at IRI, a market research firm.

In 2021, fears of a turkey shortage prompted customers to flock to local farms and grocery stores for fresh and frozen devourers. This year, despite bird flu outbreaks that wiped out more than 50 million birds and sounded the alarm about Thanksgiving turkey availability: The number of whole hens that were in cold storage in August increased 12 percent over the same period in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We expect everyone who wants a turkey to get one,” said Jay Jandrain, president and chief executive officer of poultry producer Butterball. He noted that fewer than half a percent of the farm’s turkeys were affected by bird flu.

But the price of the bird is a different story. Last November, you could get a frozen Butterball turkey at the Stop & Shop for a retail price of $1.29 a pound. This year, that figure has jumped to $1.49. Local farms have also raised prices: At Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster, the retail price for farm-raised turkeys is $4.99 a pound, up from $4.29 a pound last November, the company said. co-owner Susan Miner.

“Feed is killing us,” Miner said, estimating that nutrient prices have gone up 25 to 30 percent. “We have to feed them for a year before they lay an egg. So, the feed is over, so we have to go up.

Turkeys at Bob’s Turkey farm in Lancaster, Massachusetts on November 22, 2019. Erin Clark for the Boston Globe

In fact, the cost of feed is the “single major factor” in the rising cost of turkey, said Butterball’s Jandrain, and it’s due in large part to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At Natick Community Organic Farm, the cost of a pasture-raised turkey has jumped to $9 a pound this year from $7 last year, mainly due to skyrocketing grain prices, livestock director Haley Goulet said .

While New England farms avoided the worst of the avian flu crisis, they weren’t immune. Wendell’s Diemand Farm placed their turkey orders in January, but when it came time to get a batch of birds in July, their hatchery in Canada ran into trouble with the disease. They turned to another hatchery to retrieve the lost turkeys, but couldn’t get them until September 1, meaning the birds lost 4 to 5 weeks of growth.

“This means we will have about 2,000 turkeys that are much smaller than we would like and what customers want,” manager Tessa White-Diemand said. But prices are still rising; the cost per pound is now $4.99, up from $4.29 last year.

And turkeys are far from the only Thanksgiving delicacy shoppers will feel the pinch. Heat waves and droughts in Idaho last year, combined with a cold and rainy spring this year that delayed the harvest, have hampered the state’s potato harvest. Swaz Potato Farms in Hatfield has had to irrigate a bit this year, but has had a solid crop overall, said Diane Szawlowski, head of sales and marketing.

In this Sept. 19, 2018 file photo, potatoes flowed down a conveyor belt at Brett Jensen Farms outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho. John Roark/Associated Press

And yet, prices are — you guessed it — still on the rise: Amid increases in the prices of fertilizers, diesel, packaging and labor costs, the cost of boosting crops has increased by more than 40%, Szawlowski said. This year, the farm began charging wholesale about $20 for 10 five-pound bags of red and white potatoes, up from $15 last year.

“Historically, potatoes have been very cheap,” he said. “It might be shocking to some people this year.”

There is one commodity generally less expensive than last year: the beloved cranberry, which had a strong harvest in Massachusetts this fall. Twelve ounces of cranberries are 41 cents less than last year, according to the Farm Bureau. (Blueberry saucehowever, it is up, about 18 percent from last year, per IRI.) At Cape Cod Select, the retail line for cranberry grower Edgewood Bogs in Carver, the price of fresh cranberries has remained the same last year — $9.99 for four pounds — according to head of marketing and special projects Amelia Houde.

Luis Canales raked cranberries which were raked into a circle and placed into a large underwater suction pipe at Edgewood Bogs in Carver in October 2020.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

While there are myriad supply chain reasons for a higher utility bill this Thanksgiving, corporate profits are also a key factor, said William A. Masters, an agricultural economist at Tufts University.

“A lot of companies are just trying to figure out how high a price consumers will take and continue to pay,” Masters said, adding that this is a practice that could be put to the test on a holiday like Thanksgiving. “When consumers have traditions, which is another word for habit, companies can leverage them and charge even more.”

So far, it seems consumers are willing to pay. 38% of consumers expect to spend more on holiday groceries this year but expect to buy the same amount, according to IRI data.

IRI’s Davey said there is little evidence of advance purchases like last year; Sales volume of popular Thanksgiving foods for the week ending November 6 was significantly lower than for the same week in 2021, signaling that customers were not how bothered to stock up in advance.

For those dealing with Turkey Day sticker shock, don’t worry: Many local grocery stores — which depend on Thanksgiving as a major source of sales — offer affordable deals on Thanksgiving dinners. A turkey dinner that serves six to eight people costs $70 at Star Market, and both Aldi and Walmart are offering “pre-inflation” deals on some Thanksgiving groceries.

And as the holiday approaches, “those prices are coming down, as other specials come into play for things like turkey, cranberries and stuffing,” said Roger Cryan, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Thanksgiving is as good a time as any to look for a bargain.”

If all else fails, perhaps heed a piece of advice from Davey: “Make sure you have a potluck so everyone shares the cost,” she said.

Dana Gerber can be contacted at Follow her on Twitter @danagerber6.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: