- The price of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs rose by about 12% from a year ago.
- Turkey prices are up some 13% from two years ago.
- The surge in meat prices has been the primary driver of overall food inflation, said an agricultural economist.
Those Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners will cost a lot more this year, with a surge in meat prices leading an overall jump in food prices.
According to the US Bureau of Statistics, as of last month, the price of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs rose about 12% from a year ago. Pork prices rose 14.1%, and beef prices surged 20.1%.
Turkey prices are up some 13% from two years ago, before the pandemic hit.
The surge in meat prices has been the primary driver of overall food inflation, wrote Jayson Lusk, Head of the Agricultural Economics Department at Purdue University on EconoFact, a nonpartisan publication analyzing economic and social issues.
He noted that beef, pork, and chicken prices were respectively 26.2%, 19.2%, and 14.8% higher in October 2021 than prior to the pandemic in January 2020.
"Indeed, prices for some meat items have reached the highest levels recorded even after adjusting for overall inflation," Lusk said.
The increases in food prices come as several factors — including supply chain disruptions, wage hikes in the food sector, rising agricultural produce prices, and strong consumer demand — converge.
"The meat price increases were initially caused by disruptions in supply when packing plants shuttered after workers contracted COVID19," Lusk explained in the post. "Packing has fully resumed, but there remain extra costs from socially distanced workers and the addition of personal protective equipment."
It's all leading to the most significant annual grocery price increases in a decade and the highest annual restaurant price increases since the early 1980s, wrote Lusk.
"Food prices have been extraordinarily volatile throughout the pandemic," he added.
Also damping the festive cheer is a shortage in live Christmas trees as climate change has decimated crops in Oregon, where most of the country's supply of trees is grown. Even artificial trees have been affected due to the shipping and supply chain crisis, said the American Christmas Tree Association.
But the ACTA believes there is a fix. They're encouraging consumers to beat the rush for trees by buying ahead of time.
"Buying a Christmas tree early doesn't mean it has to sit in the garage, or sit undecorated until after Thanksgiving," said Jami Warner, ACTA Executive Director in a post.
"A Halloween or Thanksgiving tree is a great way for consumers to get into the festive spirit this year," she added.