The Thanksgiving Supply Chain in the United States

America will see around 50+ million turkeys sold over the Thanksgiving weekend, spending more than $1 billion.

The Thanksgiving Supply Chain in the United States

As families across the nation prepare their tables for the annual Thanksgiving feast, a complex dance of logistics and supply chain management plays out behind the scenes.

The Top Turkey-Making States

Last year, the U.S. raised around 210 million turkeys. The states that led the way were

  1. Minnesota - 37 million birds
  2. North Carolina - 28 million birds
  3. Arkansas - 26.0 million birds

2023's numbers are on the rise, with a total of 245 million turkeys expected to be produced in the U.S. this year.

Rising Costs of Thanksgiving Meals

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal has dropped this year, with the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 being around $61.17, or less than $6.20 per person. However, social media users may not agree, especially considering higher rates of inflation raising food costs this year.

Turkey Prices Down, Sides Are Up

Data also shows a decrease in the cost of a turkey (due to cases of bird flu over the past few years), but items for side dishes have seen an increase this year due to lingering supply chain issues. According to the AFBF:

  • 16-pound turkey: $27.35 or $1.71 per pound (down 5.6%)
  • 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.84 (up 2.9%)
  • 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.44 (up 3.7%)
  • 1 gallon of whole milk: $3.74 (down 2.6%)
  • 1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): $.90 (up 2.3%)

Turkey Pilgrimage: Additional Insights

The journey of a Thanksgiving meal is an extensive one, often covering up to 2,500 miles to transition from farm to table. To accommodate the increased demand, nearly 700,000 employees are recruited for the holiday season. This surge includes drivers, warehouse staff, and logistics coordinators.

We also give more thanks to our nation's troops as the Defense Logistics Agency has helped ensure over 360,000 pounds of food have been delivered or are projected to arrive by the eve of Thanksgiving.

The demand for turkeys has been steadily rising, with a notable preference for smaller-sized turkeys, likely due to smaller family gatherings. This alters the dynamics of production, transportation, and storage.

America will see around 50+ million turkeys sold over the Thanksgiving weekend, spending more than $1 billion.

The chart below from Mexicom Logistics contains more insights into the preparation behind getting that Thanksgiving meal.

As we give thanks for the plentiful spread on our tables this year, let's also tip our hats to the logistics community that brings the harvest home.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to FreightCaviar.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.