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Retailers Give Thanks to Customers With Food Deals This Year

With 97% of U.S. consumers planning to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, retailers are competing for shoppers ready to spend on food for their feasts.

Inflation continues to take a toll on shoppers this season, especially on food. Grocery prices were up nearly 17% over the past two years, and 92% of Walmart shoppers are concerned about food inflation. 

Retailers use turkeys as a key driver of store traffic volume in November, when 84% of the year’s whole, fresh turkeys are sold. With turkeys and more, retailers can draw customers to their stores, apps and websites. 

Discounts and Deals 

Some stores are offering significant discounts on Thanksgiving food and meals. Both Walmart and Aldi announced price cuts in October for Thanksgiving meal options. Walmart advertised a traditional Thanksgiving meal for up to 10 people for just over $70 ($2 less than last year), while Aldi cut prices up to 50% on more than 70 Thanksgiving favorites. And Target kicked off a meal deal for Thanksgiving ingredients that cost under $25 total for a family of four. Amazon Fresh grocery stores announced a $50 Thanksgiving meal deal for five, which includes an eight-to-10-pound Butterball turkey for $0.49 per pound, along with eight side items. 

According to Instacart, retailers are also highlighting deals on last-minute, non-food purchases – everything from cookware to gift bags and tablecloths – hoping to attract the high volume of consumers who may have forgotten to buy ahead of time.

But Wells Fargo notes that not all retailers will be dropping prices this year, as energy, transportation and raw material costs remain high throughout the supply chain. In particular, turkey producers paid “historically expensive” prices for feed this season, and wildfires and droughts have impacted crop growth, driving up prices more.

What are the items to look for in this market? While retail ham, canned cranberries, canned pumpkin and russet potatoes are also up this year, turkeys will cost consumers 16% less, and fresh cranberry prices are also down. Some more good news: the price of wine has remained relatively stable. 


Various retailers are attracting customers by giving away turkeys. BJ’s Wholesale Club offered the best deal: a free Butterball turkey if a customer spent at least $150 in one transaction between Nov. 1-9. At ShopRite, Giant, Weis Markets and ACME, shoppers who spend at least $400 throughout the month will receive a free turkey.

Retailers are also pairing up with popular apps to attract customers looking for giveaways. The cash-back app Ibotta, for example, is offering shoppers 100% cash back on five Thanksgiving essentials at any participating retailer until Nov. 22. 

Inflation continues to take a toll on shoppers this season, especially on food. Grocery prices were up nearly 17% over the past two years, and 92% of Walmart shoppers are concerned about food inflation. 

Expanded Meal Options

Retailers are also catering to consumer preferences for choice by offering from-scratch meals, ready-made meals and ready-to-bake options. Whole Foods and Williams Sonoma, for example, are both offering pre-roasted turkeys and pre-cooked sides, while popular food delivery services Goldbelly, Harry & David, Hello Fresh and Omaha Steaks are all offering Thanksgiving by mail. Delivery options may be particularly useful for the 38% of holiday cooks who say they’re likely to wait until the last minute to complete their shopping, according to Instacart’s holiday survey

An Improved Shopping Experience 

Creating an easy shopping experience is also a major Thanksgiving priority this year for retailers. Target, for example, is offering its $25 or less meal deal both in-store and online for a frozen turkey, potatoes and green beans. 

Walmart is offering shoppers an improved experience with expanded pickup and delivery options. Shoppers can purchase meal baskets with a single click on or the Walmart app. The retailer found that 81% percent of its customers plan to visit first for shopping ideas and inspiration. 

Instacart is promoting its ‘Ask Instacart’ feature, an AI-powered search tool in the Instacart App that gives shoppers personalized recommendations, from alternative ingredients to food pairings and cooking help. Popular prompts include “Help! I burned the turkey!” and “Frozen pie that looks homemade.” Instacart is also offering delivery not just the day before Thanksgiving but in select locations on Thanksgiving day. 

With the food retail sector incredibly competitive over the holidays, retailers who combine a variety of strategies – especially deals – for Thanksgiving have the best chance of winning over cost-conscious customers this year.