MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — So much of the turkey talk this year has been about the bird flu.
Minnesota was one of a handful of states that saw an epidemic that wiped out millions of turkeys.
And now as we approach a holiday that showcases this popular poultry, that hit to the supply is affecting the price. But does that really matter to shoppers?
“Not really,” shopper Ann Olson said. “It’s Thanksgiving, you got to have turkey [laughs].”
Shoppers appear to be taking the change in stride as they plan their holiday meals.
“It wouldn’t affect me,” shopper Diane Hallveck said. “I might shop a couple of places [to compare prices], but I’d still have to buy a turkey.”
Dan Wellinghoff is the general manager of Hy-Vee in Oakdale. It is a grocery chain that is new to the Twin Cities.
“They may choose other things, but really turkeys sell out Thanksgiving every year and I don’t see that being any different this year,” Wellinghoff said.
He suggests buying a frozen turkey rather than a fresh one to save money.
“People like the frozen ones because they can buy them early and store them. You know, pricewise they’re a little better than the fresh,” Wellinghoff said.
Analysts say egg prices are also up by as much as 50 percent since May. Meanwhile, pork production is way up this year, sending ham prices down.
“I know, I know,” Hallveck said. “But I love that so much for Easter. I’d consider it, but Thanksgiving is turkey.”
The price of frozen turkeys is up slightly as well. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says frozen hens average $1.08 a pound in early November, compared to 89 cents a pound a year ago.
The USDA, Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health have all repeatedly stated that people should not worry about getting sick from eating turkey. The risk to humans is extremely low.
And many of the turkeys that will be on Thanksgiving tables this year were already slaughtered and frozen before the outbreak.
Click here for current information on meat prices on the USDA’s website.