The New York Times tells us that Thanksgiving this year is shaping up to be a tough time for turkey, the star of your holiday meal. Fresh or frozen—it doesn’t really matter.
You’re only partially correct if you guess the culprit is inflation or supply chain kinks. There’s also a highly contagious strain of avian flu, which has reduced the availability of turkeys by over 7 million. As we move closer to the 2022 holiday season, additional outbreaks are being reported.
As a result, those convenient skinless turkey breasts at the grocery store are costing as much as 112% more than last year. You’re not crazy. It’s why your favorite deli might not be able to make a turkey sandwich for you. Bottom line: the price of frozen turkey has skyrocketed 73% since this time last year.
Don’t just blame it on the birds, though
The price of most food items has increased, but it’s not the food itself. Let’s get back to talking turkey. They’ve got to eat. They are fed a balanced diet of corn and soybean meal mixed with a supplement of vitamins and minerals. On average, it takes 75–80 pounds of feed before they’re ready to be processed to end up on your table. Last year alone, corn prices increased by over 54%. The price presently continues to increase because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which supplies about 16% of the world’s corn exports.
It takes fertilizer to grow that corn and soybean meal. And that has also been disrupted by the war in Ukraine. Russia is the world’s top exporter of nitrogen fertilizer and ranks second in phosphorus and potassium fertilizer exports.
Finally, there’s labor. Sadly, livestock labor wages have increased only about 8%. So, while it’s possible that part of the reason for your expensive holiday bird is an annual pay raise, the big culprit is that there’s a growing labor shortage. The U.S. agriculture industry has dealt with a widespread farmworker shortage because of many factors, including immigration laws and a declining interest in agricultural employment. As a result, the gap between available jobs in agriculture and people to fill these jobs is widening.
Is it time to think about dining out?
Seems like a reasonable alternative, but turkeys are proving to be elusive to restaurant owners, too. They’re discovering that long-time trusted suppliers simply can’t guarantee orders. Alternative suppliers aren’t able to deliver, either—or rather, they can come up with a compromise of fractional orders for smaller birds with less meat.
The moral of this turkey tale is that there are still things to be thankful for. You can always opt for a holiday ham or even a prime rib. And think twice about the cranberry sauce. Regardless of your choice, let’s remember that it’s more about the company of friends and family who’ll join you to give thanks.
Here at Vinyl Art, we aren’t experiencing the supply chain issues described above. Our US location means that we aren’t waiting for supplies to be shipped from overseas and we make all our products right here at our facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
This means fast turnarounds without supply chain delays for all of your vinyl and polypropylene packaging and point-of-sale needs – including retail price tag holders and store signage for any need (even for all the menu items associated with a traditional Thanksgiving meal).
Our entire team at Vinyl Art is grateful for you. Happy Thanksgiving!
We’d love to connect with you!
Contact the Vinyl Art Team at 1-800-569-1304or email@example.com