COBB COUNTY, Ga. — If you have not planned for Thanksgiving dinner yet, you may want to do it now.
The turkey will cost more, and shoppers are already seeing shortages at metro Atlanta grocery stores.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, frozen whole turkey prices are 20% higher than last year.
On average, shoppers can expect to pay $1.35 per pound, the USDA said.
The USDA added the number of live turkeys slaughtered under federal inspection is down 6% from 2020 which is contributing to a lack of availability in stores nationwide.
“Normally, we’re seeing 130-150 million pounds of frozen turkey. This year that’s a little bit different because of labor shortages. We’re only seeing 100 million pounds, so significantly less than usual,” said Wendy White, a food safety project manager at Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
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White is former director of food safety and quality at Golden Gate Foods.
“This is being caused by labor shortages which are driving up labor prices. Oil prices are 60% higher than they were last year, and that’s really affecting transportation costs,” White said. “We’ve had a drought in the Midwest which is really skyrocketing grain prices, and that grain is needed to feed those turkeys.”
Sweetwater Mission in Austell predicted higher prices and shortages.
“We started making phone calls about two and a half months ago,” Debbie Ginocchio said. “What we have right now is just for Thanksgiving. I’m not covered for Christmas yet.”
The nonprofit group will deliver 4,000 turkeys through Thanksgiving to first responders, medical workers and families in need.
“They’re in the same boat as everybody else is. They can’t find them. They can’t buy them. We’re going to take care of them,” Ginocchio said.
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