Thanksgiving turkey, food should be plentiful, but it can cost “quite a bit” if you haven’t got one yet

Thanksgiving 2021 is already here and consumers are flocking to the stores to get last minute items.

But given rising prices and the supply crisis that has resulted in bottlenecks in shipping, will there be anything left? According to experts, the answer is – there should be.

“Consumers are not really panicking about buying, but they are buying in anticipation of not having it,” Pedro M. Reyes, associate professor of business at Baylor University, told Yahoo Finance.

In many U.S. grocery stores, consumers are starting to see limited supply of fan favorites for this time of year like cranberries, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and other perishable items, Reyes said. But turkeys – the main star of the Thanksgiving meal – will not run out.

“Honestly, turkeys are processed year-round, and the frozen turkeys have already been in stock since probably July,” Reyes explained. “Therefore, we do not want to see a shortage, we just want to see a limited supply because it has to be moved from one place to another.”

In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, Butterball CEO sent the same message to consumers.

“We do not expect a shortage of turkeys. We expect that there will be some differences in the sizes that the customer will find. The smaller turkeys will be a little harder to grab,” according to Jay Jandrain, Butterball CEO and president.

But if consumers have not bought a turkey yet, Reyes claimed you’ll probably pay “a little more money for it” now.

Buy what you need, but no more than that

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 11: A shopper walks past turkeys on sale at a grocery store ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on November 11, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  U.S. consumer prices have risen sharply in the past few months on commodities such as food, rent, cars and other commodities, as inflation has risen to a level not seen in 30 years.  The consumer price index rose by 6.2 percent in October compared to a year ago.  (Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 11: A shopper walks past turkeys on sale at a grocery store ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on November 11, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. U.S. consumer prices have risen sharply in the past few months on commodities such as food, rent, cars and other commodities, as inflation has risen to a level not seen in 30 years. The consumer price index rose by 6.2 percent in October compared to a year ago. (Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images)

According to LendingTree analysis of US Department of Agriculture data, a whole fresh turkey will be 6.2% more than last year. A frozen hen (a female turkey) will cost 4.8% more than 2020, and a frozen empty (a male turkey) will cost 6.0% more, the data showed.

Katie Denis, Vice President of Research and Communication at The Consumer Brand Association (CBA), also says that consumers can expect limited supply of certain goods.

According to CBA data, sold-out prices for perishable goods are currently at 13%, while certain categories, such as frozen foods and beverages, are slightly higher at 14%. These prices reflect high demand as the average sold out prices are typically 7 to 10%.

“This does not mean that products are unavailable, it means that there may be spotty outcomes where consumers in some places may see fewer choices,” Denis told Yahoo Finance in an email. She urged customers to plan ahead when going to the store, be flexible and buy what they need – but no more than that.

Denis argued that the supply chain for consumer goods (CPG) is “adapting” to a new normal in the COVID era. According to a recent CBA report, demand for CPGs increased by 21% in March 2020, and now demand is still at a record high. In the third quarter of 2021, demand for CPG was 8.3% higher than in the same period last year and 1.8% higher than the previous quarter.

In March 2020, “the shelves were cleared, but today the stores are relatively well-stocked,” Denis said. It “should be a good indicator for consumers that the holiday table will not be sparse.”

We think this is because the system is already maxed-out and many food suppliers do not have the manpower and surplus stock they need to meet that type of increase in demand.Kerry Byrne

Before consumers even see their favorites on the shelves, delivery operators are struggling to keep up with the high demand as well.

Kerry Byrne, president of Cincinnati-based freight brokerage firm and third-party logistics firm Total Quality Logistics, told Yahoo Finance that carriers are doing “business as usual” right now, despite a typical increase in demand at this time of year.

Byrne says this time of year is always “peak” for transportation, but this year, “peak” capabilities have been nonstop. “There has been zero pause in the operation to allow the system to catch up,” he said.

Typically, needed transportation like refrigerated trucks typically sees an increase in demand in early November, and then peaks the weekend before Thanksgiving. Due to high demand throughout 2021, this demand is “essentially flat compared to previous weeks,” he explained.

“We think it’s because the system is already maxed-out and many food suppliers do not have the manpower and surplus stock they need to meet that type of increase in demand,” Byrne added. While this is a major concern among producers, consumers and merchants, he stressed that “there will be plenty of food around your Thanksgiving table.”

The director added: “It may not be the size of turkey you prefer, but there will be plenty. Items that are perishable and have more time-sensitive shipping windows are what you will see lacking. Non-perishable items are typically moved during. of the summer to department stores near where they will be distributed for Thanksgiving, so things like canned goods should be readily available. ”

Consumer goods encircled by demand

CARVER, MA - OCTOBER 1: A worker tears cranberries into a large underwater suction hose drawn into a circle at Edgewood Bogs in Carver, MA on October 1, 2020. In hip soils, workers wade into cold bogs under a deep blue skies to harvest the bright crimson berries that have been a decades-old staple on Thanksgiving tables.  Edgewood Bogs, which grows a variety of cranberries on its 250 acres, began its wet harvest on September 21 and will continue until November 1. (Photo by John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

CARVER, MA – OCTOBER 1: A worker tears cranberries into a large underwater suction hose drawn into a circle at Edgewood Bogs in Carver, MA on October 1, 2020. In hip soils, workers wade into cold bogs under a deep blue skies to harvest the bright crimson berries that have been a decades-old staple on Thanksgiving tables. Edgewood Bogs, which grows a variety of cranberries on its 250 acres, began its wet harvest on September 21 and will continue until November 1. (Photo by John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Consumer-facing companies like General Mills (GIS), Ocean Spray and Conagra (CAG) do everything they can to ensure that consumers get what they need for the most ideal Thanksgiving meal.

Kelsey Roemhildt, a spokeswoman for General Mills, told Yahoo Finance in an email that the company was “committed to ensuring consumers can find their favorite foods this holiday season,” and was focused on “implementing alternative sources across the board” all areas – including suppliers, material replacements, locations and geographies. “

Ocean Spray hit a similar theme, telling Yahoo Finance in a statement that “although we do not anticipate significant impacts, consumers may at times experience some availability issues. We believe that flexibility across the Thanksgiving table will be needed this year. , “with reference to its fresh, jelly and cranberry-cranberry capabilities.

A spokesman for Conagra – behind brands like Duncan Hines, PAM Cooking Spray and Bird’s Eyes – told Yahoo Finance consumers can see spotty supply here and there, but they are doing everything they can to prepare for another busy holiday season.

“Due to supply chain problems and increased demand, stores may run out of popular items such as Marie Callendar’s pies, Reddi-Wip whipped cream, Gardein plant-based meat alternatives and Swiss Miss hot cocoa, but Conagra Brands is increasing production on this holiday favorite to meet consumer needs,” added the spokesman.

Brooke DiPalma is a reporter and producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com.

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