It’s one week until Thanksgiving Day. This year, Central Oregonians and families across the country will have to spend a little extra to get that turkey on the table.
Shoppers at Food 4 Less in Bend were already noticing the spike on Thursday.
“I’ve been procrastinating, and definitely because of the price,” said shopper Ranie Chagoya. “I don’t want to think about it too much…stuff for pumpkin pie, like a can, used to be like a dollar to $2, now almost $4.”
“I’ve always done like a side dish and it’s just been like cheese and meats,” said shopper Rayni Koehn. “And now it’s like I couldn’t afford to bring a side dish because it’s so expensive!”
Research from the American Farm Bureau shows that the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal has gone up 20% from last year nationwide.
Locally, it’s even more for some items.
“Turkey prices have gone up almost 50% over last year,” said Food 4 Less Store Director Aaron Price. “But costs have gone up on everything across the board. We’re already having issues with canned pumpkin, like I said, turkeys. Several of the things are coming in slowly and we already may not be able to get to them for the rest of the year on certain items.”
The nationwide avian flu epidemic has removed millions of turkeys from store freezers, and Price said the lack of truck drivers and general workers has caused a delay for deliveries.
“The labor issue is just the new normal that’s never going to go away,” he said. “The raw materials for the products, getting the materials for the packaging, whether it be boxes, cans, plastic, whatever it is, you name it, shipping, availability…costs have gone up because we don’t have the number of truck drivers we used to have.”
Ever-rising inflation certainly hasn’t helped the situation.
“Everything is double. Bread is double, eggs are double, butter. The simple things that you just need to eat,” Koehn said, comparing prices to this time last year.
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The rise is causing some shoppers to shift their priorities for the holiday.
“I see a little jar of something or a can of something and I think, $5.40 for that one little can? I don’t think I need that,” shopper Sally Brown said.
“We’re definitely trying to, you know, do a lot less,” Chagoya said. “Each one of us is just going to pick one main thing that we want that we usually expect for Thanksgiving and just kind of stick to that. We’re not able to do a lot of the luxury things.”
Some stores, like Food 4 Less, are trying to ease the burden for local families even if it means a loss in profits.
“Most of Central Oregon knows about our holiday meal deal, which we’ve been doing for probably over 20 years now,” Price said. “This year, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, gravy rolls and I think there’s one other thing I forgot to throw in there, but you get all the fixings plus the turkey and it’s $24.98.”
He said he made the choice to continue the deal despite losing money with each purchase.
“I decided to go ahead and do it kind of as our gift to the community, because we know how things are and how hard things get this time of year,” Price said.
Dealing with rising costs is a struggle that continues no matter the time of year.
“It’s just a bummer that you have to choose between the comforts that you have for Thanksgiving and, you know, try not to break the bank, especially before Christmas,” Chagoya said.
“I keep worrying about families,” Brown said. “We’re doing fine. But young families, I don’t see how they can afford to buy groceries or go out for a meal.”
A number of other grocery stores across the high desert are offering Thanksgiving deals in the coming days.
Thanksgiving Grocery Store Deals
- Winco Foods offering free turkey with $125 purchase
- Albertstons offering free turkey with $100 purchase
- Walmart Thanksgiving prices being kept at 2021 prices