Might turkey prices fall at Christmas?

According to the supply and demand model, we would expect the price of turkeys to be high at this time of year. After all, last Christmas in the UK over 10 million turkeys were consumed and, therefore, this high level of demand should cause prices to rise. This is certainly what happens in other markets when there is a substantial increase in demand.

However, evidence from Thanksgiving in the USA suggests that this might not be the case. According to this article from the New York Times, data suggests that the price of frozen turkeys in the US falls by around 9% between October and November, coinciding with the substantial increase in demand for Thanksgiving celebrations. The article then goes on to suggest a number of plausible demand and supply-side explanations for this fall in price.

Turkey Economics 101: Why turkeys are so darn cheap this time of year Culinate (25/11/13)
Why Does Turkey Get Cheaper Around Thanksgiving? Slate, Matthew Yglesias (21/11/12)


  1. How elastic do you think the demand for turkeys will be at Christmas?
  2. What type of products are well suited to being used as loss-leaders?
  3. Which of the explanations for the increase in prices do you find most convincing?
  4. What evidence might be useful to distinguish between the different explanations?