SARASOTA, Fla. - Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, so it's almost time to pre-heat the oven and warm up your fryer ahead of the busy holiday season.
Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst and editor for supermarketguru.com, said shoppers will see a bit of relief when they go to pick out their frozen turkey for their Thanksgiving festivities.
"This year probably more than ever before, shop around," said Lempert. "Don’t rely on just one store for all your deals."
He said prices are down 22% and the USDA has reported more than 22 million birds were raised this year, meaning no shortages are expected. Lempert said to keep in mind that prices were up 21% last year – making it about even.
What may shock you, though, is that canned goods are up this year and fresh veggies will save you a buck.
"Cranberries, canned cranberries are up because of climate change, the extreme heat that has been in the cranberry bogs, so that is up 60%. Canned pumpkin is up 30%, canned green beans is up 9%, so head to the produce department and buy fresh," Lempert suggested. "Not only will it have a fresher taste and have more nutrients as well, but you’ll save money as well. That’s the first time we’ve been able to do that."
Lempert said shoppers will see a retail war that will benefit the consumer.
"Walmart has lowered prices, they’ve got two options. One is ready to bake, another one from scratch. They can feed 10 for $70. Costco has a similar offer. Target has an offering with a 10 pound turkey that will feed four for $24, Amazon has gotten into the fray as well," he said.
"The best deal that I have seen is from Aldi. What Aldi has done is lowered prices on holiday foods 70 different items up to 50% off, so that’s a great deal and the reason why I like that better is what Walmart, Costco or Target will put in the package for me. I might want something a little different. So that’s one of the reasons that frankly I will shop at Aldi myself," he said.
All Faith’s Food Bank in Sarasota and DeSoto counties are loaded up with turkeys.
"We have 13,000 turkeys that we are giving out this year to our neighbors," said Denise Colter, the chief development officer with the food bank.
Colter said after the COVID-19 pandemic, Hurricane Ian and inflation, the need continues to grow in the area.
"We are really exceeding every projection we thought to the number of people and our neighbors we are helping this year, especially family and children," she said.
For those who can’t afford the extra costs, All Faith’s Food bank is making sure no one goes without.
"Everyone should smell that turkey cooking in their oven, everyone should have food through the holiday season, and that’s why we are here," said Colter.
All Faith’s Food Bank will distribute turkeys on Saturday, November 11 at 9 a.m. at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, located at 777 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Turkeys will also be handed out at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15, at Ed Smith Stadium, located at 2700 12th Street in Sarasota.
For more information or to volunteer visit All Faith's Food Bank's website.