In early November, Hays Culbreth’s mother sent a poll to a few family members. She said she could only afford to make two sides for their group of 15 this Thanksgiving and asked them each to vote for their favorites.
Culbreth guesses green beans and macaroni and cheese will make the cut, but his favorite — sweet potato casserole with a brown sugar crust — will not.
“Talk about Thanksgiving being ruined,” joked Culbreth, 27, a financial planner from Knoxville, Tennessee.
Americans are bracing for a costly Thanksgiving this year, with double-digit percent increases in the price of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, canned pumpkin and other staples. The U.S. government estimates food prices will be up 9.5% to 10.5% this year; historically, they’ve risen only 2% annually.
Lower production and higher costs for labor, transportation and items are part of the reason; disease, rough weather and the war in Ukraine are also contributors.
“This really isn’t a shortage thing. This is tighter supplies with some pretty good reasons for it,” said David Anderson, a professor and agricultural economist at Texas A&M.
Wholesale turkey prices are at record highs after a difficult year for U.S. flocks. A particularly deadly strain of avian flu — first reported in February on an Indiana turkey farm — has wiped out 49 million turkeys and other poultry in 46 states this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
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