5 Thanksgiving Foods You May Need To Substitute Due to Supply Chain Shortage

Roasting Turkey in the Oven for Holiday Dinner stock photo
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Although there’s still plenty of food to go around, supply chain disruptions could make Thanksgiving dinner staples a little harder to find this year. According to market research firm IRI, retailers were running lower on basic Thanksgiving items in the week ending Nov. 7 compared to the same time last year.

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While you may not be able to find exactly what you want, don’t stress just yet — you’ll probably still be able to find substitutes. “I would say this is a Thanksgiving of alternatives,” Stew Leonard Jr, CEO of the small grocery chain Stew Leonard’s, told CNN. “I can’t guarantee our customers that they will have every single item they want,” he explained. “But I can guarantee that they will have an alternative to what they want.”

Here are some Thanksgiving items that retailers have been struggling to keep on shelves:

1. Turkey

During the first week of November, IRI data found that whole bird frozen, fixed-weight turkeys were in stock at a rate of 64% across national retailers, 22% lower than last year.

“Whole turkey sales have been early and brisk, which potentially accounts for the reported out-of-stocks,” Christa Leupen, a Butterball spokesperson, told CNN. “We can affirm that there will be Butterball turkeys available in stores this season.”

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Turkey processor Cargill has also reported that there will certainly be enough turkeys to go around this year.

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2. Gravy

Liquid gravy had an in-stock rate of 73% during the first week of November, down 12% compared to last year.

3. Cream Cheese

Used in several Thanksgiving recipes, cream cheese is also running low this year. Kraft Heinz has reported increased demand for Philadelphia Cream Cheese within the past year and expects that trend to continue over the holiday season. Jenna Thornton, a company spokesperson, also told CNN that the company plans to ship about 30% more Philadelphia for November and December.

4. Cranberries

Cranberry sauce has a 79% availability, down from 89% last year. Ocean Spray, a co-op that makes cranberry sauce, noted that while consumers may experience some availability issues, it doesn’t expect “significant impacts” on supply.

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5. Baking Supplies

Some stores may also be running lower on baking supplies. A Hershey spokesperson said that flavored chips, such as butterscotch and peanut butter, have been in higher demand this year, but have run into supply chain disruptions.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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