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Turkey Prices in the U.S. Keep Soaring Due to Strong Demand and Labor Shortages


Turkey Prices in the U.S. Keep Soaring Due to Strong Demand and Labor Shortages

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. – Turkey Meat – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights‘. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

This November, the price for fresh whole body turkeys surpassed November 2020 figures by 9%, while frozen whole body turkeys jumped 20% y-o-y. A short supply of workers led to lower turkey output and higher prices on the backdrop of consistently strong consumer demand. Turkey imports to the U.S. maintained the previous year’s levels. Canada and Chile remain the only turkey suppliers to America. Unprecedented inflation rates have struck the entire food sector; in October 2021, price increases for meats, poultry, fish and eggs became the highest recorded in the past 30 years.

Key Trends and Insights

Due to accelerating food inflation, Thanksgiving dinner this year will cost Americans significantly more than the previous one. According to the latest report from the USDA, the average price for fresh whole body turkeys in November 2021 was $1.46 per pound, which is 9% more than the previous year. The price for frozen whole body turkeys came to $1.36 per pound, a 20% increase in comparison to 2020.

The average cost of organic fresh whole body turkeys totaled $3.24 per pound (+4.8% compared to November 2020), while organic frozen whole body turkeys were $3.30 per pound (+23%). On average antibiotic-free fresh whole body turkeys cost $2.37 per pound (a decrease of 7%), at the same time, frozen whole body turkeys are going for $3.30 per pound (twice the gains compared to November 2020).

The increase in turkey prices is caused by solid demand running into a 6% y-o-y drop in butchered turkeys to 4.6M tonnes, due in part to a deficit of workers. The turkey market size in 2020 totaled 2.4M tonnes, while this year, it is expected to decrease to about 2.3M tonnes.

Higher turkey prices are occurring in the broader context of unprecedented inflation for food products. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October prices for meats, poultry, fish and eggs grew by 11.9% in comparison with October 2020. That is the fastest rate of price increases in the past 30 years.

It is unlikely that imports will offset the short supply of turkeys in the US. In 2021, imports remained at comparable levels to the previous year and from January through September consisted of 7K tonnes, accounting for about 0.4% of US consumption. In monetary terms, imports totaled $19.6M, having grown by 7% in comparison with the same period in 2020. Canada makes up 80% of American imports, together with Chile being the only suppliers of turkeys to the U.S.

Turkey Exports from the U.S.

In 2020, exports of turkey meat from the U.S. contracted to 214K tonnes, with a decrease of -11.8% compared with 2019. In value terms, turkey meat exports shrank from $483M to $416M (IndexBox estimates).

Mexico (135K tonnes) was the main destination for turkey meat exports from the U.S., accounting for a 63% share of total exports. Moreover, turkey meat exports to Mexico exceeded the volume sent to the second major destination, China (17K tonnes), eightfold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by Guatemala (4.8K tonnes), with a 2.2% share.

In value terms, Mexico ($262M) remains the key foreign market for turkey meat exports from the U.S., comprising 63% of total exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by China ($27M), with a 6.6% share of total exports. It was followed by the Dominican Republic, with a 2.6% share.

From 2010 to 2020, the average annual growth rate of value to Mexico (+0.2% per year) was relatively modest. Exports to the other major destinations recorded the following average annual rates of exports growth: China (-3.0% per year) and the Dominican Republic (+0.2% per year).

In 2020, the average turkey meat export price amounted to $1,945 per tonne, with a decrease of -2.4% against the previous year. There were significant differences in the average prices for the major export markets. In 2020, the country with the highest price was the Dominican Republic ($2,434 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Jamaica ($1,195 per tonne) was amongst the lowest. Over the past decade, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to China, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox Platform