Mid-Michigan grocers predict holiday food shortages

‘None of us know if we are going to actually get what we ordered, so there is going to be some scrambling there’
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 6:23 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - You may have noticed it’s tough to find some thanksgiving meal staples at the grocery store. One local store expects to run out of turkeys by the end of this weekend. Experts say you can still find what you need if you shop smart.

“Until the turkeys are in the building, though the week of Thanksgiving, it’s still nerve wracking,” said Brandon Decker, co-owner of Merts Specialty Meats. “None of us know if we are going to actually get what we ordered, so there is going to be some scrambling there.”

Mert Specialty Meats has seen a large number of orders for turkeys and they said the costs are going up.

“For fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving, we say maybe a 15% increase, which we’ve absorbed this year. We are not passing that on to the customer, but beef is going to be really bad for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Decker said. “It will probably be the worst we have ever seen in terms of price.”

It’s not just turkeys that will be harder to come by. Items like Cool Whip, cream of mushroom soup and more ingredients for Thanksgiving side dishes may be quick to leave the shelves.

“Sourcing of ingredients for food has been problematic. We’re short on turkeys. We have about 2/3 as many turkeys as we had last year,” said Supply Chain Management Chair Emeritus at MSU, David Closs. “The inventory to sales ratio is low. Inventory at stores is low compared to sales.”

Experts said meats will be an item you want to buy soon, but other items -- such as fruits and vegetables -- can be found easier in the stores.

“Those you’ll have to buy when you see them available. Those with shorter supply chains, fruits and vegetables, that are made in the US are less of a problem because they are moved quicker,” said Closs.

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