Emily Tinch loads her groceries into the trunk of her car after being able to find everything she needed for Thanksgiving dinner at Publix on Rosewood Drive on Monday morning. Photo by Sheila Paz
Emily Tinch hurried out of her regular grocery store Monday morning with a large shopping cart filled with Thanksgiving supplies. With just three days to go before the holiday, she wanted to beat the rush of last-minute shoppers.
“I was shopping for Thanksgiving, and actually had every single item that I needed. They had it all, they trimmed up the beef tenderloin for me and it was perfect,” Tinch said as she was piling her groceries into the back of her car.
Tinch said that she had already bought her turkey over the weekend.
Tinch has been adhering to supply chain experts’ advice to shop early and beat the crowds, so she could avoid any potential supply shortages.
“The industry continues to face shortages during the pandemic, and those shortages on product and packaging may vary week to week,” Maria Brous, director of communications for Publix, wrote in an email. “In some instances, suppliers have discontinued multiple varieties to concentrate on their best-selling items to meet demand.”
Grocery chains have been preparing for the holiday season by over-stocking holiday meal staples and ordering their stock earlier than usual.
“In terms of the holiday season, at Publix, we place our orders for holiday items well in advance of the season, so that we are well positioned to serve our customers with the variety and selection they have grown to expect from us,” Brous wrote.
Still, data from market-research firm IRI said supplies of food and household items are 4% to 11% lower than normal as of Oct. 31. Certain holiday staples are being hit harder; by the end of October turkeys were over 60% out of stock.
These supply limitations have caused shoppers to put more thought and planning into their shopping trips.
“I’ve been fortunate to find most items I need for Thanksgiving, but I had to visit multiple stores to find refrigerated pie crusts,” Tasheena Ticer, a member of Columbia Mom, a local moms group, said.
Consumers also said they are paying higher prices.
“For the first time in my adult life, I am paying a premium price for basic items, having to go to three-to-four different stores to find what I need and having to cut other areas in my budget to afford the exorbitant cost of food,” Sarah Cain, another member of the group, said.
Alice Davis was one of the shoppers finishing up Thanksgiving shopping on Monday morning, after planning her trips for the past three weeks. Although she expected grocery stores to be out of various different items on given days, Davis said she has been able to stock up on everything she needs for Thanksgiving dinner.
“The earlier you shop, the more selection you have in terms of brand and greater selection availability,” Brous said.
ABOUT THE JOURNALISTS
Connor Hart is a senior multimedia journalism student from the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Over the summer, Hart interned at The State newspaper where he reported on business and retail in the Midlands, and he is currently a managing editor at The Daily Gamecock, UofSC’s student-run newspaper. Outside of work, Hart is a captain of the UofSC Men’s Volleyball team, where he has learned leadership, teamwork and dedication. Hart hopes to use the professional and extracurricular skills he has learned in his future career.
Sheila Paz is a senior multimedia journalism student from Columbia, South Carolina. She has interned with WACH Fox 57. For Paz writing comes second nature and wants to write for a lifestyle magazine in the fashion industry. In her free time, she can be found working at Trader Joe’s or at home working on upcycling thrifted clothes.