Prices for Thanksgiving turkeys have fallen sharply this year because of a gobbler glut.
Shoppers buying a 20-pound turkey will save $4 on fresh turkey and $2 on frozen turkey at many area supermarkets thanks to price reductions that have occurred in recent months.
Turkeys are 10 to 20 cents a pound less than they were last year at major supermarkets in the Washington area. Fresh turkeys are 79 cents a pound at Giant and Safeway stores, compared to 99 cents a pound last year. Frozen Swift Butterball turkeys, weighing 10 to 22 pounds, are 89 cents a pound at the two chains, down from 99 cents.
The two chains together ring up about 60 cents of every $1 spent on groceries in the area.
"Production is up," said Larry Johnson, a representative of the Safeway chain, in explaining why stores have cut prices.
Turkey supplies at present are running about 16 percent over last year, according to U.S. Agriculture Department economist Allen Baker. Miscalculations by turkey growers, good weather and limited exports worked together to produce the bumper crop, he said.
Baker predicts that wholesale prices will dip even lower because of the abundance of turkey meat. The wholesale price for a young hen, weighing 8 to 16 pounds, in the New York market, was 62.7 cents a pound during the third quarter. But Baker forecasts the average wholesale price for the fourth quarter will be 55 to 57 cents a pound. This could be followed by lower retail prices.