Grocers feed Thanksgiving meal deals to consumers overstuffed with inflation

This year’s promotions cast a bigger spotlight on keeping down the total cost of the holiday feast.
Kroger 2023 Thanksgiving meal deal-$5 per person
Kroger said its "Freshgiving” Thanksgiving meal basket will feed 10 people for less than $5 per person. / Photo courtesy of The Kroger Co.

U.S. consumers’ ongoing inflationary mindset has supermarket chains stuffing their winter holiday promotions this season with more Thanksgiving meal deals.

The Kroger Co. on Monday unveiled its “Freshgiving” Thanksgiving meal package of 15 staple items—from turkey to sides to dessert—that feeds 10 people for less than $5 per person, down from last year’s basket of 11 items for as low as $5 per person.

The Freshgiving offer includes eight Kroger-brand items—a whole frozen turkey (14-16 lbs.), Idaho potatoes, turkey stuffing chicken broth, super sweet corn baby carrots, crispy french fried onions and brown-and-serve rolls—plus a Kroger “Our Brands” Bakery Fresh Goodness pumpkin pie (10-inch). Rounding out the package are Ocean Spray fresh premium cranberries, sweet jewel yams (various brands), Campbell’s turkey gravy, Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, Del Monte French-style green beans and Cool Whip original whipped cream topping.

Price per person includes store coupons and discounts, and pricing may vary by geography, Kroger noted. The Cincinnati-based grocer also plans multiple weekly digital deals, including the Kroger 5X event starting Wednesday that allows digital coupons to be redeemed up to five times, 4X fuel points Fridays and 4X fuel points on gift card purchases (for a limited time only).

Families looking to spend less time in the kitchen for Turkey Day can opt for heat-and-eat Thanksgiving meals and sides from Kroger’s Home Chef meal-kit brand. The proteins and sides can be bundled for more savings, including a boneless turkey and five sides serving six people that starts at $65. Customers can choose from sides such as old-fashioned bread stuffing, sweet potato souffle, turkey gravy, creamy scalloped potatoes and others.

“This year, we are bringing more to the table for less, with a holiday basket that gives thanks no matter what your traditions are. Food connects us all,” Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a statement.

Jacksonville, Florida-based Winn-Dixie, meanwhile, last week announced the “Thanks-Winning” holiday meal for less than $30.

The Thanksgiving meal deal encompasses a 15-lb. or less frozen Butterball turkey (99 cents per lb.) and a range of SE Grocers-brand sides, including stuffing (6 oz.), yams-cut sweet potatoes (29 oz.), small early peas (15-15.25 oz.), canned corn or canned cut green beans (14.2-15.2 oz.), cranberry sauce (14 oz.) and brown-and-serve rolls (11 oz.), plus an eight-inch pumpkin pie from Winn-Dixie’s bakery.

Customers can find for the Thanks-Winning holiday meal display near the meat department of their local Winn-Dixie store or ask a store associate for help.

Winn Dixie 2023 Thanksgiving-$30 meal deal

Winn-Dixie has launched a "Thanks-Winning" meal package costing under $30 plus a new “Price Hold” seasonal discount program for grocery staples. / Photo courtesy of Southeastern Grocers

In addition, Winn-Dixie said it has introduced a “Price Hold” seasonal discount program to help rein in pricing on grocery staples. The retailer said the new initiative lowers prices on more than 1,000 commonly shopped items, and customers can save over 20% on average when purchasing items marked in blue “Price Hold” signage throughout the store. Through Jan. 7, discounted items include condiments, baking ingredients and frying essentials, gravy and stocks, vegetables, sweet treats, holiday staples and home basics.

“The holiday season can be a wonderful but expensive time of year, and we recognize many families are looking for ways to celebrate without straining their budgets. Our Thanksgiving meal for under $30 makes this possible, complete with everything needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, from a tasty turkey to all the delicious sides,” according to Dewayne Rabon, chief merchandising officer for Winn-Dixie parent company Southeastern Grocers. “Our mission is—and always has been—to provide our customers with high-quality groceries at affordable prices. Through our meal deal and ongoing seasonal discount program, we are dedicated to helping alleviate some of the financial burden our customers face this holiday season.”

Grocers carve prices across store for holiday season

The Save Mart Cos. said last week that it’s beating last season’s turkey deal. Save Mart and Lucky stores in California and northern Nevada are now offering their lowest price on frozen Jennie-O turkeys, at 47 cents a pound with a purchase of $25, along with savings on other Thanksgiving meal essentials.

Customers not looking to cook their holiday feast themselves can pre-order prepared Thanksgiving turkey or ham dinners, with sides, that serve six to eight people, Modesto, California-based Save Mart added. Orders can be placed online and picked up in stores or delivered through Instacart at designated time windows.

Members of the Save Mart and Lucky Rewards programs now can also access digital savings via a whole-basket coupon of $10 off a $50 purchase available on the Save Mart and Lucky apps. And through Nov. 14, shoppers can get 20% off all wines, with a mix and match on six bottles or more.

“A recent Nielson IQ report (September 2023) found that 90% of consumers have changed how they shop in order to manage expenses, with 32% saying they are focusing on essentials,” stated Mark Van Buskirk, senior vice president of merchandising and marketing for The Save Mart Cos. “During the holidays, we make it a priority to deliver value to our customers at a time when they need it most, affording them quality time with friends and family.”

On the East Coast, Wakefern Food Corp.’s ShopRite supermarket banner is offering one free turkey or ham to Price Plus Card holders who spend $400 between Oct. 15 and Nov. 23. As an option to turkey or ham, loyalty program members also can chose a free offering from a selection of plant-based, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or Kosher items.

Products available through the deal include a free ShopRite- or Bowl & Basket-brand all-natural frozen turkey (up to 21 lbs.) or a savings of $1.99 per pound for any other fresh or frozen turkey brand (up to 21 lbs); an Empire or other brand Kosher turkey at $1.99 per pound off (up to 21 lbs); a free Cooks butt or shank half-smoked ham or a savings of $2.39 per pound off any Cook’s spiral sliced ham, boneless ham or any other smoked ham (up to 12 lbs. average); and a John F. Martin boneless ham at $7.17 off.

Shoppers also can opt for any other fresh or frozen turkey breast or Empire kosher turkey breast or an Empire or Kosher frozen roasting chicken (up to 8 lbs. average) for a savings of $3.29 per pound off.

Price Plus customers seeking alternative holiday meals, ShopRite said, can get a Stouffer’s Frozen Lasagna (90-96 oz., various varieties), a Gardein plant-based roast (frozen, 35.2 oz.) or a Tofurky plant-based protein entree (frozen, 56 oz.) free by spending $400 in the designated time frame, or choose from an assortment of Marie Callender frozen side dishes (13 oz.).

ShopRite, too, is offering 139 locked-in price promotions as part of this year’s Thanksgiving sale. The sale spans a wide range of products, including items under Wakefern’s Bowl & Basket, Wholesome Pantry and Paperbird private brands. The grocer noted that the promo covers “many sought-after Thanksgiving favorites,” including items “at some of the lowest prices of the year.”

Walmart food shopper-Thanksgiving 2023

Walmart ushered in its Thanksgiving grocery promo campaign announcing that a traditional meal for up to 10 people for would cost just over $70, less than last year. / Photo courtesy of Walmart

Sunbury, Pennsylvania-based Weis Markets also is steering Thanksgiving deals to loyalty plan members. Weis Rewards points earned between Oct. 15 and Nov. 23 can be redeemed for a free turkey or ham or special savings on turkey, ham or other items.

For 400 points, Weis Rewards shoppers can get a free Weis Quality-brand frozen turkey, a free frozen turkey breast, a free Smithfield smoked bone-in ham portion, a free Tofurky roast and gravy (2.5 lbs.), a free Tofurky ham-style roast and glaze (19 oz.), or a free Weis Quality meat or vegetable lasagna or macaroni and cheese (40 oz.).

Customers  collecting 200 points in that time span can get deals for a Weis Quality frozen turkey for 69 cents per pound, a frozen turkey breast for 99 cents per pound, a Smithfield smoked bone-in ham portion for 99 cents per pound, a Butterball frozen turkey for 99 cents per pound, a Weis Quality fresh turkey for 99 cents per pound, a Butterball fresh turkey for $1.99 per pound, a Smithfield hickory-smoked or brown-sugar spiral sliced ham for $1.99 per pound, a John F. Martin or Hatfield whole boneless ham for $1.99 per pound or a frozen Kosher turkey for $2.99 per pound.

Alternatives include fresh Atlantic salmon fillets at $4.99 per pound (4 lbs. limit) as well as Weis Quality meat or vegetable lasagna or macaroni and cheese (40 oz.) for $4.99 each with 200 points.

“Our Thanksgiving Rewards offer plenty of time for customers to earn their reward points and many choices for redemption,” commented Maria Rizzo, vice president of marketing and advertising at Weis Markets. “Our rewards program is one of our best deals of the year, and we hope it makes for some memorable Thanksgiving dinners.”

Cavalcade of whole-meal specials

Though Thanksgiving grocery specials are certainly nothing new, what stands out in this year’s promotions are an increased number of deals focused on the total cost for the holiday meal—addressing consumer weariness after over a year of elevated food price inflation.

Earlier this month, Target Corp. unveiled a Thanksgiving meal serving four people that it said costs less than $25, including turkey at under $1 per pound as well as an array of sides and desserts for less than $5. Target’s $25 Thanksgiving meal deal consists mainly of items from the retailer’s Good & Gather brand, and the company said those hosting a larger Thanksgiving party can double the list of products to serve eight guests.

A couple of days later, discount grocer Lidl announced a 12-item Thanksgiving meal for 10 people at less than $30. Available as of Nov. 15, the meal deal includes a frozen turkey for 49 cents per pound—$1.30 less than the national average—available through the myLidl loyalty program, Lidl said.

And last week, Amazon said its Amazon Fresh supermarket banner is serving up a Thanksgiving dinner for five at less than $50. The deal includes an eight- to 10-pound frozen Butterball whole turkey, turkey gravy, russet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, cornbread stuffing, sweet rolls, Amazon Fresh-brand pie and Breyers ice cream. Shoppers must spend more than $50 to get the frozen Butterball turkey for 49 cents per pound, and that deal doubles to 99 cents per pound for those buying the turkey online.

Walmart and Aldi had kicked off the Thanksgiving-meal grocery retail battle a couple of weeks earlier. As of Nov. 1, Walmart began offering a traditional Thanksgiving meal for up to 10 people for just over $70, about $2 less than last year. Also on that date, Aldi cut prices on more than 70 Thanksgiving favorite items—including potatoes, pumpkin pie, cranberries, butter and flour—that the company said will provide an average savings of 30% on a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10.



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