Grocers Are Gearing Up For higher Thanksgiving Meal Sales Despite a 13.5% Cost Increase

As the holiday approaches and inflation issues continue to impact many industries, Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) released a new report revealing insights on Thanksgiving-related grocery sales trends. According to the 2022 Thanksgiving Tracker, traditional Thanksgiving meal items are estimated to cost 13.5% more than they did a year ago.

Nevertheless, the big celebrations are back, with 76% of those surveyed by IRI saying they will celebrate Thanksgiving the same way they did before COVID-19.

IRI has tracked a variety of holiday-related items to determine their price, availability, and demand leading up to Thanksgiving. These key insights will enable retailers and manufacturers to make more informed decisions about merchandising and promotions to drive growth and profitability and to deliver for shoppers during one of the largest food holidays of the year.

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“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, IRI Client Engagement.

“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,” Steel added.

This year, more young people are participating in the holiday meal. According to the Thanksgiving Tracker, the pandemic empowered a new generation of cooks, and more young people will be preparing a holiday meal or hosting a celebration among family or friends.

There will be an average of 7.4 people at the Thanksgiving table this year, but that number jumps to 9.8 for Gen Z and younger Millennials (under the age of 32).

Thanksgiving shopping will take place earlier this year. In 2021, shoppers purchased their Thanksgiving staples much earlier than they did in previous years, including the highest rates of whole-bird turkey volume in October ever seen.

Many consumers, 38%, expect to pay more for Thanksgiving groceries this year, and with concerns surrounding inflation, shoppers are already looking for deals and will be picking up items as they see them promoted.

Historically, many categories see a significant lift in sales leading up to Thanksgiving because it is one of the largest food holidays in the United States. This year will be no different; categories including baking, beverages, meat (both turkey and ham), sides, and pies are expected to see a significant volume lift.