How much will Thanksgiving turkey cost?

Low prices set at many grocery stores despite drought

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Americans will be able to enjoy relatively cheap Thanksgiving turkeys this year, thanks to many retailers locking in their costs before a drought earlier in the year drove up U.S. feed prices.

Retailers are determined to keep prices for the traditional Thanksgiving main course as low as possible, even though sky-high corn prices have nearly doubled the cost of producing a pound of turkey meat this year.

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"It is a lot cheaper at the stores 'cause, yeah, they are trying to get you in, they want to make up the difference with stuffing and sodas and vegetables and things like that," said John Azar, owner of Azar & Co. Wholesale Meats.

Another reason for the lower prices? Grocery store chains had the opportunity to lock in the price for turkeys last spring before the drought could hurt prices.

Azar said another thing to consider when buying the bird is fresh versus frozen.

"I can't tell," he said. "I mean, people believe fresh is better; frozen is good."

The effects of higher feed costs are showing up at some supermarkets that did not lock in pre-drought prices.

So just how much will shoppers spend on their turkeys this year depends on where they shop and when.  Grocery prices for a frozen turkey this week vary from 59 cents a pound to just of $1 per pound.

Azar said although grocery stores may have gotten away with a cheaper price this way, he expects next year shoppers will have to pay more for their turkey.

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