Thanksgiving shoppers out grabbing for turkeys

With people now starting to plan their Thanksgiving feasts, it seems some meat departments this year are expecting fewer of the day-before-Thanksgiving shoppers, given the drastic change in grocery prices during the past year.

By Monday afternoon, one local Safeway store was nearly out of its store-label turkey.

Sixteen-pounders were selling for $4.99 while the Honeysuckle brand was at $7.99 for the same size. The larger ones were pricing at $6.99 at Safeway and $9 for the Honeysuckle brand.

Store associates advised customers to return Tuesday for the new shipment of Safeway-branded turkeys.

The price of turkey shot up dramatically between 2006 and 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, meat department officials said local prices this year shouldn’t be different than last.

What has changed is the number of bargain shoppers since grocery prices have increased dramatically this year.

“Normally, I wouldn’t think about prices,” said Jessica Schertz, 25, of Grand Junction, who was shopping the meat department at the downtown City Market on Wednesday with ads in hand. “This year, I looked at the ads for City Market and Albertsons to see the prices. In the past, I always forgot to pay attention to the price of turkey.”

She said if she opts for a traditional Thanksgiving this year, she is likely buying the bird early.

If people are hunting for the best deals, several stores are setting up for it.

“We’ve got a lot of sales going on early,” said Kris Staaf, director of public relations for Safeway stores.

“The smart, savvy shopper is looking at a lot of different things and making a decision based on that.

Having a $4.99 turkey available is a pretty good value.”

Albertsons stores show a sale this week on Honeysuckle-brand turkeys for 35 cents a pound, which typically price at $1 a pound.

At City Market, sale prices last now all the way through Thanksgiving, with Jenny O turkeys selling for $6 up to 15 pounds and those over 16 pounds for $8. Butterball turkeys are 99 cents a pound.

“I think customers are recognizing good value and they’re taking advantage of that value,” Staaf said.


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