et's talk turkey. According to commodities researchers, Thanksgiving birds are going for record high prices this year, thanks to the rising cost of corn, the key component of a turkey's diet. "The fundamental reason why you're seeing record-high turkey prices is the fact we're seeing record-high costs of raising turkeys," says Tom Elam, a food industry and agriculture consultant based in Indiana. Here, a data-based guide to the Thanksgiving meal:
Retail price per pound of whole frozen turkey, as of September, the highest since 1980, and a 7.7 percent increase from last year
Wholesale price per pound of frozen turkey, as of last week — an all-time record, according to Russell Whitman, a commodity researcher
Price per pound for which Walmart sold turkeys last year after it slashed prices. Don't expect to see those kind of prices this year, says Elam.
Approximate portion of a turkey's diet that's made up of corn
Increase in the price of corn over the past year
The number of turkeys produced in the U.S. this year, according to the USDA
The number of turkeys produced in the U.S. in 2008, according to the USDA
The number of calories the average American consumes on Thanksgiving Day, according to the Calorie Control Council, as stated in a 2007 New York Times article
The number of calories in a Healthy Choice brand "Golden Turkey Breast" meal, which includes turkey, gravy, dressing, a vegetable, and a cherry-blueberry crisp
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