Turmoil in Turkey: Rising food prices blamed for costly Thanksgiving

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A new report from Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analysis Lab finds prices for turkey, along with many other Thanksgiving favorites, have risen

As Canadians from coast to coast battle inflation, rising food prices are eating away at Thanksgiving this year.

A new report from Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analysis Laboratory reveals that turkey prices have increased, per kilogram, by an average of 15-16% from a year ago.

Potatoes increased by 22% and frozen corn by 6%. The price of bread in general has increased by 13%. Cranberries are 12% more expensive and butter is up 13%.

And if you were thinking of skipping the turkey to save money and opt for a different cut of meat, they are also more expensive. The lab finds that the cost of bacon and ham is up about 10% from 2021, as has chicken.

Professor Sylvain Charlebois says the lab did a national poll in conjunction with Angus Reid and found that many people admit they will change their menu this year to help offset the cost of the meal.

“Our results show that almost a quarter of Canadians will change their menu due to rising prices, but we believe that animal protein will be targeted for some of these menu changes.

He says even with the rising cost of food, others are unwilling to move away from the traditional meal.

“More than nine out of 10 Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, if we exclude Quebec, then we feel that it is an important holiday. Among those who celebrate Thanksgiving, more than two-thirds (68%) say they will eat the same meal [or] foods they normally do.

Despite the cost factor, Charlebois thinks people will stick with the turkey, but maybe opt for a larger bird.

“Because usually a bigger bird will weigh less than a kilo, so you’re basically saving money,” he explains. “Maybe people will cook a bigger bird and keep the leftovers for several days.”

“We expect larger rallies compared to last year,” he adds. “In fact, last year there were record numbers of small birds on the market because we didn’t expect so many people to gather in large groups because of the pandemic.”

Eating homemade food and local produce is also popular over the holiday long weekend, with 82% of Canadians preferring homemade food, while 51% like to eat local food, the survey finds.

Charlebois warns that given the higher overall price of groceries, if you plan to go to the store to buy ingredients to make things from scratch, you really won’t save a lot of money, even nothing.

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