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Avian Flu Losses in 2022 Impact on Consumer Prices

USDA’s Economic Research Service reports frozen wholesale turkey breast prices climbed abruptly in response to the 2022 avian flu outbreak.

Before the outbreak started in February 2022, both frozen whole bird and wholesale turkey breast prices had been increasing gradually. Cumulative losses because of avian flu surpassed seven million turkeys, and breast prices peaked at $2.98 per pound in the week ending October 7, 2022. Prices remained elevated for the remainder of the year.

Once reports of new outbreaks slowed in mid-December 2022, whole turkey hen prices leveled off. At the same time, breast prices declined, averaging $2.34 per pound in the week ending April 28, 2023. This is $0.32 higher than a similar week in 2022, but down $0.64 from the peak price last year.

Divergence in prices between frozen turkey breast meat and whole bird prices is, in part, explained by seasonality. Demand for whole birds is much more seasonal than wholesale demand for turkey breast meat.

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