U.S. turkey prices soaring as farmers remain reluctant to expand flocks following major downturn back in 2008; production about 8% below peak supplies from three years ago

LOS ANGELES , November 22, 2011 () – U.S. turkey prices are soaring as farmers remain reluctant to expand their flocks following a major downturn back in 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 22.

Wholesale turkey prices on the East Coast were at US$1.18 a pound as of Nov. 21. That’s down only a penny from the record set earlier this month and well above the rate of less than a dollar a pound seen for much of the last five years.

Turkey growers have been hesitant to increase their flocks after high feed costs and the U.S. recession fueled a major downtown in 2008. As a result, production is almost 8% below peak supplies in 2008.

However, Thanksgiving shoppers are only seeing part of the increase in wholesale turkey prices, as many supermarkets continue to sell the product at a loss in order to draw in shoppers who buy the other items that make up the holiday meal. Shoppers tend to pick a single store to do all their holiday shopping, several studies show, so drawing in consumers who buy turkeys is crucial.

That said, retailers appear less willing to pass on deep discounts to shoppers than in the past. Instead, said Tom Elam, an Indiana-based consultant who runs Farms Econ LLC, they are increasingly requiring other purchases before shoppers can buy discounted turkeys.

The primary source of this article is The Wall Street Journal, New York, New York, on Nov. 22, 2011.

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