Prices for Thanksgiving shopping are expected to be higher

Experts recommend starting your holiday shopping as soon as possible
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Thanksgiving meals are expected to cost a little more at the grocery store this year as supply chain issues continue to plague consumers.

Just about every product is expected to see an increase in price, not because of the availability of the products themselves, but in the lack of production.

According to Wisconsin Grocers Association President Brandon Scholz, a lack of labor has been a key reason why it’s difficult to get so many products.

“Much of it has to do with the workforce,” said Scholz. “Up and down the supply chain, these businesses do not have the amount of people to do what they need to do.”

Fewer workers lead to fewer products which mean higher prices for the stores that buy them.

“Now when grocers put their order in, they’re only getting 60% of the order they’re putting in,” said Scholz.

As the stores are paying more, the costs eventually get passed on to the consumers.

“They can only absorb price increases for a while,” said Scholz. “At some point, it gets passed on to consumers and that’s what’s happening today.”

With that in mind, consumers are preparing for higher prices for products around the holidays this year, starting with Thanksgiving and the traditional turkey.

David Jagler owns Jagler’s Townline Market in Wausau, known for its meat selections. Around Thanksgiving, they get in fresh, Amish turkeys which, because of their freshness and quality, are already a little more expensive.

“They’re a little pricier to start with, but this year compared to last year we’re looking at a 25% increase,” said Jagler.

According to Newsweek, turkey prices were at $1.15 per pound in 2020. This year, they’re already at $1.41 per pound and could potentially rise from there.

Stores and meat markets, like Townline, have been preemptive when getting products in.

“We always make sure that we’re not caught off guard by any shortages, especially this year,” said Jagler. “The meat suppliers that I deal with, we’ve been dealing with for years and they make sure we’re taken care of.”

The recommendation from the Wisconsin Grocers Association is to start shopping now.

“When it comes to holiday shopping, the sooner the better,” said Scholz. “Put your list together. Go today. Bring it home. Put it in the freezer. Put it in the refrigerator. Put it in the pantry. You’ll be in good shape.”

Scholz encourages people that the supply chain shortages forever. However, Jagler reminds people that the prices right now are just a part of reality.

“Don’t have sticker shock when you go in,” said Jagler. “You have to know that local meat markets and grocery stores aren’t making more money. They’re just passing it along.”

Townline Market will get their batch of turkeys in the week before Thanksgiving Day.

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