Local grocery stores weigh in on potential turkey shortages for the holidays


In this Monday, May 4, 2020 photo, a wild turkey crosses a field in Freeport, Maine. States around the country are encouraging hunters to hunt turkeys this spring despite social distancing rules. The hunt will look different than usual because of concerns about the virus. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

(WJHL) – Supply chain challenges have been causing all sorts of shortages worldwide, and the holidays are no stranger to runaway demand on hot items. Whether it’s a TV, Tickle-Me-Elmo or a twenty-pound turkey, consumers are eyeing the shelves as the important days approach.

According to USDA projections, this year will see more than 5.6 million pounds of turkey produced in the United States, which clocks in at about 2% lower than last year. In that same report, the USDA projects that 8-16 lbs hens will cost $1.35 per pound in Q4 2021, 18.4% higher than last year’s holiday season.

According to a USDA Turkey Market News Report released on Friday, turkey prices at the end of last week were “steady to firm” for frozen birds going into Thanksgiving and “steady to weak” for post-Thanksgiving. According to a USDA Glossary, a firm market has light price increases and a weak market has light price decreases.

While prices may be affected, local retailers aren’t concerned about the supply itself.

“We expect turkeys and holiday meal provisions to be in good supply for Thanksgiving gatherings,” said James Menees, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic. “And are confident in our ability to serve our customers’ needs throughout the holiday.”

Publix media relations manager Jared Glover said that at Publix, all is quiet on the turkey front.

“We have turkeys in stock and anticipate no issues heading into the Thanksgiving holiday,” Glover said. “The industry continues to face shortages during the pandemic, and those shortages on product and packaging may vary week to week. We pride ourselves on working diligently with our suppliers to offer our customers high quality products.”

Glover said that while they don’t see issues on their end, several suppliers have buckled down and discontinued multiple products to focus on their flagship foods.

“I think most customers will find items they are looking for in stock, but as with most holidays we suggest getting out and getting your shopping done early.”

News Channel 11 staff also reached out to Walmart and Food City representatives but have not received a response.

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