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Thanksgiving costs spike because of inflation, turkey shortages

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash.  --  As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, dinner costs are up substantially from this time a year ago.

According to the research firm IRI, prices for potatoes are up 20% from last year, while cranberry prices have spiked 18%, and most notably, turkey prices are up 24%.

“It’s supply and demand. Whenever you have a shortage, the price goes up,” said Kim Nygaard, co-owner of Double DD Meats in Mountlake Terrace.

Nygaard said inflation on turkeys has been caused by a nationwide outbreak of bird flu, leading to the culling of 40 million turkeys this year alone.

“We have found that if one bird gets the bird flu, that they will destroy your entire flock,” she told KIRO 7.

Despite rising costs, evidence suggests that 2022 is not a “Thanksgiving thud.” To avoid the constant spike in food prices, many customers at Double DD Meats started preordering their turkey day feasts in the middle of the summer.

“We’re getting calls for both Thanksgiving and Christmas in the middle of August. How do people know how many people will be at the dinner table six months in advance?” wondered Justin Nygaard, another co-owner of Double DD Meats.

Despite higher prices, customers told KIRO 7 they’d have it no other way.

“We definitely could not be short of turkey. Big family, we could not, not have a turkey,” said one customer. “It was very important,” added another customer. “We can’t have Thanksgiving without a turkey.”

Research suggests the average Thanksgiving feast will cost you 13% more money than this time a year ago.

As for why prices for foods like potatoes and cranberries have increased, Justin Nygaard said drastic weather patterns and droughts have affected many crops throughout 2022.