The Turkey Shortage and Thanksgiving Meal Staples Low in Stock for 2022

If you’re making plans for your Thanksgiving meal, be prepared as some holiday ingredients may be difficult to find on store shelves.
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The Cost of Your Thanksgiving Meal in 2022

The rush is on. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to finish planning your holiday meal and checking off that list of needed ingredients.

But when it comes time to hit the store, you may be in for a big surprise as many of your Thanksgiving dinner essentials may be hard to find, or prices may be much higher than you expected.

Here’s a look at some Thanksgiving must-haves that may be in short supply this year and how you can avoid food shortages and sky high prices.


iStock-1280406520 turkey shortage woman taking turkey out of oven

If you’re in charge of making the turkey this year, expect to pay more, and you may have a harder time finding the perfect bird. High turkey prices and fewer turkeys on the market are the result of the avian flu, inflation, and supply chain challenges, according to the New York Times. In fact, some analysts say you should expect to pay more than twice what you paid for your bird last year. As of Oct. 28, the price of turkey is $1.99 per pound according to the USDA; that’s up from 99 cents from the same time last year.

RELATED: The Dos and Don’ts of Deep Frying a Turkey

What You Can Do

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If you’re unwilling to forgo a Thanksgiving turkey, you may have to settle for a lesser-known brand rather than a marquee brand. You may also have to adjust your expectations for the size of the bird you’ll buy. If you usually do a 20-pound turkey, you may have to purchase two smaller ones, or just settle for a smaller one with fewer leftovers.


iStock-1436358615 turkey shortage putting butter into mashed potatoes

For those who have bought butter recently, you know you’re spending more than last year, and that means those holiday baked goods will cost you more to make. Plus, your favorite butter brand may be out of stock next time you’re at the store.

The higher prices are a result of a lack of supply in milk production from the previous year, according to a USDA report. In addition, flooding, drought, and severe storms have hampered productivity. “Such conditions can affect the availability and quality of feed as well as the physiological functioning and reproductive health of dairy cows,” another USDA report noted. “Negative environmental conditions also lead to the distribution and resiliency of parasites and pathogens that affect animal health.”

What You Can Do

iStock-1141651990 turkey shortage buying butter

Next time you’re at the store, stock up on butter as experts don’t expect prices to come down any time soon. Watch for sales, and store extra butter in the freezer until needed.

Depending on the use, you may be able to substitute other ingredients for butter in recipes. Oils (such as olive, coconut, and canola), buttermilk, mashed banana, applesauce, and avocados can all work as butter substitutes in various recipes.

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Add sugar to the list of pantry essentials that will cost you more next time you’re at the grocery store. Largely due to supply chain issues, the USDA reports that refined beet sugar prices were 55 cents per pound in October 2022—that’s 13-16 cents more than the same time last year. Prices for refined cane sugar saw a similar increase from last year. Experts predict sugar prices to remain high going into 2023.

RELATED: 17 Products That Will Make Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup Easier Than Ever

What You Can Do

istock-506035120 turkey shortage sugar on the shelves

While there isn’t a sugar shortage predicted, simple supply and demand around Thanksgiving means you should think ahead as much as possible, when it comes to buying sugar and other pantry essentials. You might also consider purchasing any of a number of alternative sweeteners such as monk fruit and allulose.


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The cost to make a sandwich has risen over the last year, as bread prices have gone up largely due to Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine. The two countries are the world’s largest wheat exporters, and the war has threatened the supply. Plus, here in the United States, flour prices in July were up more than 44 percent compared to the same time last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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What You Can Do

iStock-1221789192 turkey shortage thanksgiving dinner rolls

If you’re planning to have bread on your Thanksgiving table, you’ll save some money by baking your own. Try these fluffy dinner rolls or fluffy white bread for all those leftover turkey sandwiches. You can also try out new flours such as spelt, whole wheat, and nut flours, according to Saveur.