Retailers battle the bulge in food costs for this year’s Thanksgiving table

This year’s holiday meal will cost 13.5% more than last year's, according to IRI’s latest trends report, prompting retailers to look for ways to keep the cost down for shoppers.
Grocers are offering lower prices on Thanksgiving essentials. / Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

As Americans gather around the Thanksgiving table, the bulge in food costs will be significantly more noticeable this year. Thanksgiving dinner will cost 13.5% more than it did last year, according to IRI’s latest trends report, published last week.

And with food prices still high, 38% of shoppers will cut back their Thanksgiving meal due to inflation, new research from 84.51°, the Cincinnati-based Kroger-owned data and media company reported.

Consumers will be cutting back to save money. Forty-five percent will cut turkey or pumpkin pie, 37% will cut on corn bread and 32% will consider ditching cranberry sauce, stuffing or macaroni and cheese, 84.51° reported.

Adding extra pressure to their wallet spend is the avian flu driving up higher prices on turkeys, prompting shoppers to head into the holiday season with a belly full of angst.

Financial issues have firmly replaced COVID as consumers’ primary concern heading into the holiday season, as 45% of shoppers report being most concerned about rising meal prices compared to other holiday expenses, according to the lastet FMI—The Food Industry Association’s  U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends 2022 series.

As one of the largest food holidays of the year, 76% of respondents to an IRI survey report said they’ll celebrate Thanksgiving in the way they typically celebrated it before COVID-19.

"Despite the significant impact of inflation, consumers are excited to return to pre-pandemic holiday celebrations, and many will be participating in the Thanksgiving holiday by purchasing the same amount of groceries as they typically do," said Alastair Steel, executive of IRI Client Engagement, in a statement. "This year, consumers are planning further ahead for Thanksgiving than ever before, picking up staple items as they see promotions that fit within their budgets. The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving will be a tremendous opportunity for CPG brands and grocery retailers, and recent data will empower optimization on promotions and advertising strategies for key products."

As for where they will do their Thanksgiving shopping, 70% of customers say they will only shop in-store for their holiday meal, with the other 30% either exclusively online or combination of in-store and online shopping.   

Aldi and Lidl, as well as Walmart, are heavily promoting their value-focused Thanksgiving prices this season. 

Discount grocer Aldi is taking prices back to 2019 in its latest holiday campaign, with Thanksgiving Price Rewind icons appearing in advertising and throughout its stores.  

Providing amazing products at the absolute lowest prices is what we’ve always done, and we know right now that’s more important than ever,” said Dave Rinaldo, president of Aldi U.S., in a statement. “We expect to welcome tens of millions of customers in our stores this Thanksgiving season, and we want them to know they can count on us. So why not attempt that additional side dish this year, or invite over a few more friends or family members? You can rest easy knowing Aldi has your back this Thanksgiving, and beyond.”

Discount rival Lidl's frozen turkey is just 49 cents per pound—$1.50 below the national average, Lidl said.

"Even as grocery prices rise nationally, shoppers can rely on Lidl for the best deal to feed their family this holiday season," said Stefan Schwarz, Lidl US chief product officer, in a statement. "We are proud to offer shoppers at Lidl a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings for less than $30. We hope our low prices give families some financial relief as they come together this holiday season.”

Retail giant Walmart is also offering to help set the table this holiday season by rolling back prices for a Thanksgiving meal to last year’s prices, including whole turkeys for under $1 per pound, the retail giant announced.

“Saving money is a top priority for our customers right now, so this year, we’re removing inflation on an entire basket containing traditional Thanksgiving items,” John Laney, EVP of Food at Walmart U.S., posted on the retailer’s website.

BJ’s Wholesale Club is also looking to ease some wallet pain this Thanksgiving. Through Thursday, BJ’s members who spend $150 in the same transaction, either in-club or online, will get a digital coupon for a free Butterball whole turkey, fresh or frozen, to be redeemed Saturday through Nov. 23, while supplies last. To qualify, members will need to create a digital account on, so they can clip their free turkey offer in their coupon gallery, either through the BJ’s mobile app or online at, the wholesale club said in a statement.

“We recognize our members are hunting for incredible value, this year more than ever, so as we head into the season of giving, we’re excited to continue our tradition of offering our members a free turkey promotion,” said Michael Leary, SVP general merchandise manager at BJ’s, in a statement. “Members can set their holiday tables with everything they need this Thanksgiving, from fresh food and pantry essentials to entertaining sets and serve-ware, while taking advantage of our convenient shopping options, all in a one-stop shop.”





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