BRITS could be forced to go without turkey this Christmas as bird flu-related shortages have sent prices soaring by up to a fiver.
Culls and restrictions to control the spread of the deadly disease among birds have squeezed supplied and pumped prices up by 26% on average, according to consumer group Which?.
For larger frozen turkeys, currently selling at around £22, this works out as an increase of just under £5.
“We are also working against soaring energy and input costs.
“Turkey producers are doing all they can to protect the health and welfare of their birds at this difficult time, especially as we approach Christmas.”
Sadly, alternatives to traditional turkey are also in short supply, with geese and chicken both affected by anti-flu lockdown restrictions.
It comes after Britain’s worst ever outbreak of the disease earlier this year.
Even the King’s swans were affected, with a third of the flock at Windsor killed as it was ravaged by the spread.
Spiralling inflation has bumped up the prices of food across the board and bird flu has only exaggerated the effects.
This month alone, shoppers are set to spend an extra £60 on food as the cost of the Christmas dinner as a whole spiked by 10%.
According to figures from data analytics company Kantar, the average turkey meal for four will set families back £31 this year, an increase of 9.3% on 2021.
However, economists have said that food price inflation may have peaked and will start to slow as global agricultural prices have fallen by around a quarter in the past few months.
While Kantar figures showed food prices are 14.6 per cent higher than a year ago, the rate of inflation fell by 0.1 per cent last month — the first time it has gone down in almost two years.
Fraser McKevitt, from Kantar, said: “Grocery inflation still has a long way to come down”
Meanwhile, supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has announced measures to try and make Christmas more affordable this year.
The retailer recently unveiled an ‘inflation-busting’ two-course festive meal at a price of less than £4 per head.
Chief executive Simon Roberts said: “We really understand that millions of households are having to make really tough decisions this Christmas and our job is to do everything we can to help with the rising costs of living.
“We know everyone wants to enjoy a special Christmas meal together which is why we’re keeping inflation at bay and offering Christmas roast dinner for less than £4 per head – cheaper than it was last year.”