Whether we’re ready for it or not, the holiday season is fast approaching. This means family gatherings, food, fun and fellowship. And no more talk about social distancing, okay! But, one concern is emerging, and it’s not just because of inflation. 

American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed turkey and egg costs in their latest Market Intel report. According to their analysis, families can expect to pay record high prices at the grocery store for turkey this upcoming holiday season thanks to the impacts of the bird flu and inflation. 

The retail price for fresh boneless, skinless turkey breast reached a record high of $6.70 per pound in September, 112% higher than the same time in 2021 when prices were $3.16 per pound. The previous record high price was $5.88 per pound in November 2015, during the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak.

While Arizona Farm Bureau has not yet conducted its 2022 Thanksgiving market basket survey and reported on the local numbers in Arizona, we’re seeing this price increase already. “We’re concerned about inflation already. Knowing that this latest outbreak of avian influenza is impacting our agriculture commodities in this area is making the issue that much more concerning. What is encouraging our AFBF economists do say supplies of turkeys will be in good shape,” says Arizona Farm Bureau Outreach Director Julie Murphree.

Inflation is adding to the price hikes. All retail food prices were 11.4% higher in August compared to the same time last year. Despite the higher prices, there should be enough turkeys available for the Thanksgiving demand.

“All of us are feeling the pain of higher prices at the grocery store,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “HPAI outbreaks in the spring and an uptick in cases in the fall are taking a toll, but farmers remain dedicated to ensuring America’s food supply remains strong.”

It is important to understand that farmers aren’t profiting from record-high retail prices. High supply costs from feed, fuel, fertilizer and labor make raising turkeys even more expensive. USDA’s most recent Farm Sector Income Forecast predicts record high total production costs, increasing by 17.8% from 2021 to $437.4 billion in 2022.

While egg prices have come down from record highs in July, the average price for a dozen grade A eggs is $2.34, 27% higher than the same time in 2021, and 44% above the five-year average of $1.29, according to the AFBF economists.