ELLSWORTH — Early media reports of a potential turkey shortage this Thanksgiving should be tossed with the table scraps.
Frozen turkeys, while maybe not plentiful and perhaps not in the size shoppers desire, have been available at all area grocery stores this month, including Tradewinds in Blue Hill, Friends and Family Market in Ellsworth and at Hannaford and Shaw’s supermarkets in Ellsworth.
“Currently, our retailers are reporting no supply issues,” said Christine Cummings, executive director of the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association. “It is likely that finding the exact size turkey that consumers are looking for may be a bit different than in years past. There is mixed feedback from the industry as to whether or not smaller or larger turkey sizes will be easier goods to fulfill. In addition, we anticipate that inventory will vary as the Thanksgiving holiday nears.”
Traditionally, the major grocers offer frozen turkeys for 49 or 69 cents a pound the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving as a loss leader to entice shoppers into stores where they’ll do the rest of their shopping for the big feast.
However, many shoppers in this ongoing pandemic, where products go out of stock seemingly without rhyme or reason, didn’t wait for a sale this year.
“People are buying them at regular retail,” said Tradewinds Marketplace owner Chuck Lawrence last week. “People are paying $1.29 [a pound] for a turkey right now. We’ve gone through 20 cases in the past couple weeks. It’s amazing.”
The turkey tale was the same at Friends and Family Market.
“We’re seeing the same thing,” said General Manager Matt Welch. “People are buying early at full price.”