Food prices

That Thanksgiving Dinner Will Cost More This Year

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One expert explains that worldwide supply chain issues, labor shortages – including for truck drivers, and a consumer-spending rebound are some of the factors causing prices at the grocery store to rise.

This Thanksgiving is predicted to be an expensive one. As food prices rise, experts say we should all expect to pay more for the turkey and sides.

“We haven’t seen inflation like this in a very long time,” said Quinnipiac University Economics Associate Teaching Professor Linda Fisher.

For families across the country, that means higher grocery bills. Fisher says meat, fish, poultry, and eggs increased in price by more than 10% since last year.

“Where our turkeys used to be $1.50 a pound, I’m looking at $2, $2.50, $3 a pound in certain cases,” said Tops Marketplace owner John Salerno.

At Tops Marketplace in Southington, Salerno says they’ve seen a steady rise in prices and are still seeing spot shortages. Experts say there’s nothing on the horizon that would cause them to believe it’ll improve before the holidays, which means a pricier Thanksgiving meal this year.

“We’re still going to buy food for Thanksgiving, but we will probably cut back. We won’t have as many offerings at the table,” said shopper Leigh Labouliere.

“Not only do we have supply shortages, we have increase in demand at the same time, so we have this double whammy going on pushing prices up,” said Fisher.

Fisher says worldwide supply chain issues, labor shortages – including for truck drivers, and a consumer-spending rebound are some of the factors causing prices at the grocery store to rise. She says in September the rate of inflation for food-at-home prices increased more than 1%. She says that’s a huge monthly increase, especially when you consider the Federal Reserve tries to keep inflation around 2% per year.

The National Grocers Association said in a statement that, “Shopping early for the holidays is a wise strategy, especially under current conditions. There’s plenty of food in the supply chain, but certain items may be harder to get at certain times. Specific conditions tend to vary by region. Consumers should secure those “must haves” in a timely fashion to ensure favorites for the holiday table. Independent community grocers are eager to help shoppers with their holiday needs as well as everyday shopping, so consumers should not hesitate to approach their local grocers with questions about item availability or, if necessary, alternatives.

“As we’ve seen across the economy, American consumers are experiencing price inflation driven by a perfect storm of factors including an ongoing shortage of labor across the entire supply chain, an acute shortage of truck drivers, increased ingredient inputs and occasional disruptions in product packaging production. Independent grocers and their wholesalers are working closely with suppliers to keep prices as steady as possible. As costs rise from producers and the supply chain, our members are following the same pricing structures and policies that they always have. While there is plenty of food in the supply chain, we anticipate consumers will continue to experience sporadic disruptions in certain product categories as we have seen over the past year and half due to the ongoing supply and labor challenges. We are grateful for the hard-working men and women across the entire food supply chain who are working day and night to keep products flowing to grocery store shelves.”

Fisher recommends for families looking to keep costs down to consider different food items for Thanksgiving.

“Do you have to have that specific item? Because maybe there’s something else that’s not in such high demand that might really round out your Thanksgiving meal and make it a little extra special this year,” said Fisher. “I think there's ways we can make our money stretch by finding alternatives that are better priced, looking for those sales, being flexible.”

Salerno also recommends customers take advantage of those sales, store loyalty programs, and coupons.