Jess Smith | 

Turkey Shortage 2022: Bird Flu Is Raising Your Thanksgiving Prices

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It’s flu season, and not just for you and the kids. Bird flu is running rampant, and it’s affecting your Thanksgiving dinner with a turkey shortage. Our favorite bird-related foods are taking a huge hit; chicken, eggs, and, yep … turkeys are in low supply and will cost you more during the holidays.

Before your feathers ruffle, here’s what you need to know about the turkey shortage.


Expect a turkey shortage of 20% for Thanksgiving 2022.

Butterball frozen turkeys in a cooler at Aldi

A deadly bird flu (or avian flu) has been sweeping the nation, with wild birds spreading the deadly virus to farm birds. Avian flu has killed more than 45 million birds since 2022 started, and numbers aren’t slowing down.

Overall turkey production is down due to the bird flu. Poultry industry leader Hormel is predicting they’ll have 20% fewer turkeys available through early 2023. Other turkey producers predict a similar turkey shortage. If you’re able to get a turkey, you’ll be paying more for it due to the reduced supply.

Tip: If you’re worried about not being able to find a turkey in time for your meal, consider buying it in October, before demand peaks. Turkeys may be frozen for up to a year.


Turkey shortage means your Thanksgiving bird will be 112% more expensive in 2022.

freezer full of frozen turkeys

With the bird flu wreaking havoc, plus increases in corn and other feed products used to raise turkeys, the American Farm Bureau Federation says Americans can expect to pay at least 112% more this year for turkey this Thanksgiving.

A 16-lb turkey in 2021 cost $23.99, but this year, you can expect to pay $51.81 for the same turkey. And pre-sliced, boneless turkey breast cost more, too; in September 2022 the average price was $6.70 per pound, which is 112% more expensive than the 2021 price of $3.16 per pound.


The average cost for the full Thanksgiving dinner is expected to rise.

A mix of slow cookers filled with thanksgiving dinner sides on a counter.

The cost of turkey isn’t the only part of the Thanksgiving meal that’s more expensive this year. Record inflation in 2022 means these popular side dishes will also cost more, according to the U.S. Consumer Price Index:

  • Biscuits, rolls, and muffins are up 17%
  • Frozen bakery items are up 18%
  • Canned fruit and vegetables are up 16%
  • Sauces and gravies are up 17%

How much will your Thanksgiving dinner cost? The average Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people was $53 in 2021, but with these numbers — plus the dramatic jump in turkey prices — dinner could cost you over $100.



To avoid the price increases, get a free turkey from your local grocery store (with purchase).

Frozen turkeys with a sign for a free thanksgiving turkey

There are lots of grocery stores that historically offer free turkeys for Thanksgiving when you make a minimum purchase.

Last year, BJs, Fred Meyer, Hy-Vee, and Kroger were among those grocers with free turkey promotions. Although you’ll probably have to buy a bunch of groceries to qualify, you’ll likely be able to avoid the big 30% price increase this holiday season.

Tip: If your store has a turkey shortage, head to your local Popeyes and see if they have a Popeyes Cajun Turkey.


Also, egg prices have hit a record $3.62 a dozen — $2.31 more than last year.

A person holding a carton of a dozen eggs.

Hens are dying out in the millions; without hens, there are no eggs. Eggs are lowering in supply, causing prices to skyrocket.

In 2021, you’d pay $1.21 for eggs; now, you’re paying nearly twice as much at $3.62 per dozen. This is the most eggs have cost in history, up 5% from a record high of $3.45 earlier in the year.

Like with many other product shortages, stores are limiting how many eggs you can get. Our local Albertsons had signs that read, “Due to the high demand and a short supply of Fresh Egg products, we have a limit of 2 packages per customer.”

More stores may follow as the flu spreads more, but in the meantime, use our egg coupons to avoid inflated egg prices.


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