(NEXSTAR) — It may seem too early to think about Thanksgiving, but experts already expect the holiday and its big traditional meal to be expensive, especially the main course: turkey.
Turkey prices ahead of Thanksgiving could hit record highs, economist with American Agricultural Bureau Foundation he said last week.
Last month, retail prices for fresh, boneless, skinless turkey breast hit a record high of $6.70 per pound, according to the AFBF report. That’s 112% higher than the same time last year when it was around $3.16 a pound.
The last time turkey prices were this high was in 2015 when the US experienced an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which contributed to the current record high price.
In February, USDA be warned HPAI after being discovered in three states, added that it could spread rapidly and wreak havoc on the poultry industry. In early April, HPAI had spread to at least 20 states. The most latest data from USDA shows cases have been confirmed in 40 states, with Iowa banning the heaviest impact.
AFBF economists also point to inflation, which has reached levels Americans haven’t seen in years. In August, retail food prices were more than 11% higher than at the same time last year. Some of the hardest hit items include holiday baking season staplesuch as butter, eggs and flour.
Although turkey prices are likely to be higher this year, economists say there should be no problem with supply. But higher prices are not expected to drop any time soon.
“The combination of lower production and increased demand is likely to keep turkey prices higher for some time to come,” Bernt Nelson, an economist at AFBF, told Nexstar.
The AFBF hasn’t released its annual Thanksgiving meal cost projections for this year, but prices for a number of general goods are likely to rise, Labor Department latest data show. That includes fresh biscuits, rolls and muffins, which are up 17% compared to last year; frozen and refrigerated bakery items (such as pies and tarts) rose 18%; canned fruit and vegetables by 16%; sauces and gravy at 17%; and 15% potatoes.
Thanksgiving feast is estimated expensive last year too. The AFBF estimates the average cost to prepare Thanksgiving dinner is about $53 in 2021, up from $47 in 2020. 2011the average cost is around $50 per year.