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Turkey prices gobble up wallets

Local grocers share tips for scoring a cheaper bird this Thanksgiving
Posted at 3:01 PM, Nov 18, 2021

The turkey hunt is on!

We are just one week away from Thanksgiving and it's safe to say turkeys are harder to come by this year.

It's a familiar theme we've been hearing this holiday season: cooking a Thanksgiving meal this year will be tough on our wallets.

Supply chain shortages have led to a rise in prices at supermarkets across the nation and shortages are leaving many store shelves and freezers bare.

Not only that, but West Michigan farmers and grocery chains all agree, the cost of your holiday bird and all the fixings that go with it are going to take a bigger bite out of your wallet than previous holiday seasons.

Otto’s Turkey Farm, a family-run farm in Middleville, has been selling West Michigan families their Thanksgiving birds for three generations.

But what's already their busiest time of year is even busier and more expensive, all thanks to the ongoing supply chain shortage.

“So, it looks like a shortage. The animals are out there. The labor is down, the plants are working hard, but it's the labor that is a huge issue. That and the plants are not running at full capacity. And so, it looks like a shortage, but the animals are out there I'm sure,” explained Tom Otto.

From the farm to the frozen section of your local grocery store. It's not impossible to find a frozen turkey, but you might have to do a bit of hunting to find a bird that's priced right for your family.

“There is a nationwide supply chain issue and that is something that we're struggling with definitely,” said Caitlin Gardner, SpartanNash senior manager of public relations.

SpartanNash, the owner of a variety of West Michigan grocery stores including Family Fare, D&W Fresh Market and Forest Hills Foods, are feeling the pinch in their own stores and distribution centers.

“The supply chain challenges are real. For example, there are truck driver shortages and deliveries that are being delayed, and it's a domino effect, right?” explained Gardner.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for food at home increased 4.5%, driven by a 10.5% increase in prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.

And your side fixings are not immune to the uptick in prices and high demand.

You might not find popular name brands, but most stores should have cheaper off-name brands.

“So, if there's something that you really need or your family's really counting on in terms of traditions, then go ahead and stock up on that now and make some room in your freezer, if you need to, to make sure that it's going to be fresh for Thanksgiving to serve to the family,” suggested Gardner.