WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Amid inflation, there is good news: You can save and stock up for your Thanksgiving feast

Posted November 13, 2021 7:02 a.m. EST
Updated November 13, 2021 12:37 p.m. EST

On average, the price of milk is up 28 cents compared to this time last year. Eggs are 42 cents more expensive, and increases extend to every aisle of the grocery store. If you’ve experienced sticker shock at the checkout, you are not alone.

WRAL Smart Shopper Faye Prosser has been tracking grocery prices for 20 years. She publishes a weekly list of the best deals at area supermarkets, and she keeps a list of the best prices – what you ought to pay – for common food and non-food items.

“You are finding things like beef and bacon and ground beef and chicken, they are all higher than we have seen in a very long time," Prosser said.

From backups at the ports to a worker shortage, the supply chain is fractured. Inflation is up 6.2% in a year.

Rob Handfield, who studies supply chain resources at the North Carolina State University Poole College of Management, says, “The cost of shipping via truck has gone up. The cost of putting things in warehouses and distribution centers, the labor rates for Amazon and delivery people have gone up.”

In a shopping trip to a local Food Lion, we found our list of seven common items – orange juice, eggs, ground beef, white bread, apples, bananas and a 12-pack of beer – cost $31.73. Those same selections at the same store cost $30.93 in June, an increase of 2.5% in five months.

Handfield said he doesn't expect relief to come soon.

“The shortages of labor, the shortages of raw material, I think it’s going to go well into 2022," he said.

A ray of hope for the holidays

Prosser said she did find one ray of hope as you stock up for the holidays.

"The good news is that the competitive prices this year match the prices from the last couple of years," she said.

Frozen turkeys are on sale at Wegmans for 29 cents a pound, for example.

"We bought for Thanksgiving even back in January. That gave us a really great advantage," said store manager Hallie Johnston. "We do a lot in advance."

Prosser says the secret to saving is being flexible in what you add to your cart.

“If you can be less brand specific, you will save a tremendous amount of money," she said..

“When it comes to shopping for Thanksgiving, the best advice is to shop early — not only for the best deals but also the best selection, with supply shortages likely to impact what you find on the shelf closer to the holiday," she said.

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