Huntsville small business struggles as turkey costs rise ahead of Thanksgiving

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 10:00 AM CST

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Sticker shock for Thanksgiving meals may be hitting you at the cash register. The price of that centerpiece turkey is skyrocketing this year

Customers will be paying more for their turkey dinners and the rise in costs is hurting small businesses, like Rocket City Meats, as well.

Rocket City Meats Owner Anna Serrano says she’s never seen a price jump like this before.

Over the past year, her turkeys went up a dollar per pound. She was selling turkeys for $1.86 per pound, this year it’s almost $3.00.

Serrano is facing a turkey shortage that’s impacting butchers and grocery stores across the nation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports turkeys are 23% more expensive in 2022 compared to 2021. Inflation is driving prices up while the bird flu decimated turkey populations at some farms.

Serrano says she was able to sell her turkeys at a slightly lower price than the market cost of $2.86 because she planned ahead and bought her birds early. But, she still had to scale back her supply. She had to buy half as many turkeys as in previous years.

She says both she and her customers are rolling with the punches.

“A lot of people are buying the turkey drums or turkey breast. Some people are improvising, like when I have duck, people are buying that because its a lot cheaper than buying a 20-pound turkey,” explains Serrano

Despite these roadblocks, Serrano says she still has enough turkeys to go around.