It’s not just inflation driving up Thanksgiving turkey prices in 2022

Inflation isn’t the only culprit driving turkey prices up at least 20% per pound this Thanksgiving. There’s also a nasty case of bird flu making the rounds of U.S. turkey flocks, killing 6 million turkeys through late October, the Washington Post reports.

Beware turkeys like this one that are self-basting. They’re loaded with salt. My annual search for a low-sodium turkey has begun for 2022.

“It was really a sad time to see that many birds pass to something that was that aggressive and that uncontrollable. It definitely did impact our availability and supply, and we won’t have everything for everyone like we normally do; we just won’t,” one turkey farmer told the Post.

My advice — start looking early for your low-salt turkey. I’ve already seen some at my local Jewel supermarket for around $2.90 a pound but the products aren’t listed in the Jewel shopping app which tells me only some stores have gotten them.

Shortages of low-sodium turkeys have sent me to buy them at Whole Foods the past two years but shop around this year.

In years gone by, even Costco had low-sodium turkeys at lower prices than supermarkets.

Remember, any turkey that is self-basting is also very high in sodium. Buy one that isn’t self-basting and then buy low-sodium chicken broth and baste it yourself.

How to find a low-sodium turkey, a post I wrote in 2014, is still one of the most popular on my website.

My 2021 Pandemic Low-Salt Turkey Quest

I knew this would be a difficult year to find a low-sodium fresh turkey for Thanksgiving because of the
Pandemic and supply chain issues it had caused. But I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to find what I wanted.

Keep in mind a fresh turkey, one not injected with sodium solutions for self-basting should have about 70 mgs of sodium per serving. Turkeys with liquids injected can range as high as 300 mgs of sodium per serving. And, really who eats just one serving of turkey on Thanksgiving.

My medium-sodium pandemic turkey from Costco, $2.99 a pound.

I’d written you might have to buy a bigger bird than you wanted this year. But what I found was the opposite, larger turkeys, those over 14 pounds, were extremely difficult o find, regardless of salt content.

I started at a local Jewel, an Albertson chain in the Chicago area, where I found Butterball premium turkeys that were loaded with salt. I next tried Whole Foods, one had no turkeys whatsoever, the other had only frozen turkeys. A butcher there told me fresh turkeys would be in a few days later. But when I returned on that day, they had yet to appear.

I then swung by a local Mariano’s outlet (a Kroger chain in the Chicago area). Its website listed a low-sodium Jenny O turkey option but there were none in the store I went to.

Continue reading “My 2021 Pandemic Low-Salt Turkey Quest”

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