Grocers are laying in supplies of favorite Thanksgiving foods months before they normally would, trying to get ahead of supply chain kinks.
Turkeys are in short supply, as are foods traditionally associated with Thanksgiving like cranberries, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and canned pumpkin, the Wall Street Journal reports. Tops Markets, a supermarket chain based in New York, locked down turkey supplies by February, according to its SVP of merchandising.
The anxiety stems from the interruptions to the supply chain caused by the pandemic, and the labor disruptions it entails. Grocers are reporting order fulfillment rates as low as 40%, compared with 90% in ordinary times.
In deciding whether to move up their Thanksgiving buying schedule, food retailers have to do a balancing act, weighing the possibility that prices might drop later in the year against the risk of running out of popular items. As a wholesaler told the Journal: “It’s a bad reason to lose a customer because you don’t have cranberries.”