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Turkey turmoil: rising food prices blamed for an expensive Thanksgiving

A new report from Dalhousie University's Agri-Foods Analytic Lab finds turkey prices, along with many other Thanksgiving favourites, have increased
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As Canadians from coast-to-coast struggle with inflation, the rising price of food is taking a bite out of Thanksgiving this year.

A new report from the Agri-Foods Analytic Lab at Dalhousie University finds turkey prices have increased, per-kilogram, by an average of 15 to 16 per cent compared to last year.

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

And if you were thinking about skipping the turkey to save money and opting for another cut of meat, they’re also more expensive. The lab finds the cost of bacon and ham is up about 10 per cent compared to 2021, as is chicken.

Professor Sylvain Charlebois says the lab did a national survey in conjunction with Angus Reid and found a lot of people admit they’re going to tweak their menu this year to help offset the cost of the meal.

“Our results show almost one-quarter of Canadians are going to be making menu changes due to higher prices, but we do think that animal proteins are going to be targeted for some of these menu changes.

He says even with the rising cost of food, others aren’t willing to move away from the traditional meal.

“More than nine Canadians out of 10 do celebrate Thanksgiving, if we exclude Quebec, so you can feel it’s an important holiday. Among those who celebrate Thanksgiving, more than two-thirds (68 per cent) say they will be eating the same meal [or] foods they normally do.”

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

"Because typically a larger bird will be less a kilo, so you’re basically saving," he explains. "Perhaps people will cook a larger bird and keep leftovers for several days.”

“We are expecting larger gatherings compared to last year," he adds. "In fact, last year there was a record number of smaller birds on the market because we weren’t expecting as many people to gather in large groups because of the pandemic."

The survey finds eating homemade food and local products is also popular during the holiday long weekend, with 82 per cent of Canadians preferring homemade food, while 51 per cent enjoy eating local foods.

Charlebois warns given the overall higher price of groceries, if you’re thinking about going to the store to buy ingredients to make things from scratch, you really won’t be saving much money, if anything.

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