Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays in America and turkeys are the undisputed centerpiece of the traditional feast. Over 240 million turkeys were raised in 2016, and it is estimated that nearly 50 million of those birds are consumed on Thanksgiving Day. Prices for whole turkeys vary from year to year, and movements in wholesale prices at the farm level do not always translate into price movements at the retail level. Fortunately for consumers, Thanksgiving season often marks the low point for the retail mark up for whole turkeys. This year, low wholesale prices are likely a good sign for price-conscious consumers.
Wholesale whole turkey prices fell in 2017, relative to 2016, and have remained below historical averages since January, indicating that demand may not be keeping up with current supply levels. Typically, wholesale turkey prices have a seasonal trend, with prices climbing from their bottom level in the beginning of the year to a peak near Thanksgiving. This year, whole turkey prices have not increased as in years past and have dipped further throughout the summer. The average price for a whole frozen hen in August was just under 97 cents per pound, 3 percent below January and 19 percent below August 2016. As of the fourth week of September, prices had fallen farther to 96 cents. The last time wholesale prices were below $1 per pound as late as September was in 2010.
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