U.S. News


The U.S. Is Facing A Potential Turkey Shortage Ahead Of Thanksgiving

Supermarkets and distributors are warning people to order earlier this year amid supply chain issues.
Posted at 9:16 PM, Nov 03, 2021

You've already heard how pandemic supply issues and transportation issues have affected many industries. Now, you may see far fewer turkeys at Thanksgiving this year. 

From farm to table, many are worried they won't have the holiday staple for dinner. 

"This year we opened a little early because we just can't get a hold of all the turkeys we usually do every year," said Julian Khoury, retail manager for Larry's Great Western Meats. "I'm getting about a half to three-fourths of my standard order. I'm also experiencing price raises."

Larry's Great Western Meats has already received hundreds of orders for fresh turkeys. They say they usually sell thousands of birds each fall but this year, it hasn't been so easy. Turkey isn't the only holiday meat that's hard to find right now.

"I haven't been able to get a hold of any ham at all," Khoury said. "I usually do carry a wide variety of ham and I can't find a single one. Finding the turkeys was a challenge enough. Usually it's one phone call — one and done. It took me about a month and a half and multiple distributors to find me a farm that can supply me with enough turkeys, which is something — in the 40-plus years we've been around — something we've never really done."

Supply chain issues are the main culprit, not the turkeys. They haven't had any trouble growing plump for Thanksgiving. It's the national labor shortages that are driving supply issues, especially for big-box stores. Also, the truck driver shortage is making it challenging to get the birds to supermarkets.  

You shouldn't fret just yet, though. Larry's Great Western Meats assures the all-natural organic turkey meat you expect from them is still coming in, just more slowly. So far, they have the green light from their sources and are working hard to make sure everyone is fed on Thanksgiving. 

"So far, fingers crossed we'll be receiving normally at least enough," Khoury said. "I do carry turkeys throughout the holidays, so I guess those Christmas and New Year's orders are to-be-determined but for right now, I'm hoping to make sure everyone has a turkey on their tables this holiday."