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Fresh Take: The Inflation-Cautious Guide To Thanksgiving 2021

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970

I’m planning to spend Saturday walking to the park in my neighborhood to grab the first installment of my monthly winter farm share. This first pick-up is a big one. That’s mostly because it includes the Thanksgiving turkey I pre-ordered a few weeks ago.

I didn’t hold back and picked the organic, pasture-raised option. I am paying prettily for it: $7.99 per pound. Twenty-one pounds later, my wallet is hurting. But price inflation is hard to avoid anyway, and this turkey is a once-a-year treat.

I often get asked whether there really is anything ethical and sustainable out there to buy, especially when it comes to meat. This close to Thanksgiving, I am almost constantly fielding questions about my turkey and how it was produced.

Here’s the explanation I always share: There are tradeoffs with almost any food. I choose organic because I care about pollution and worry about synthetics hurting soil, waterways, airways and surrounding communities. Pasture-raised and antibiotic-free are choices that stem from similar rationale. Nothing is perfect. I worry about worker treatment on small farms just as much as at large meatpackers. But I prefer to spend my money consciously, mostly on local farms that participate in alternative economic structures. I purchased my bird through my farm share’s affiliate partner network, which cuts out distributors and other middlemen, while helping its farmers better predict sales. The farmers earn more back from these turkeys than the ones that sell at grocery stores, which have to make it through industrial supply chains.

These purchasing decisions are extremely personal, and it’s beyond infuriating that a lot of folks are not in a financial position to make these decisions in the first place. That’s why I analyzed the most comprehensive price data out there to date to see where inflation is hitting Thanksgiving ingredients the least this year. America’s 400th Thanksgiving is expected to be the most expensive, and I am worried about the long-term impacts of rising food costs, as are 68% of families surveyed recently by NielsenIQ.

Last-minute planners still have time to get to a farmer’s market, which accept federal assistance and support regional producers. I’ll bet a few stands will have turkeys left.

Once I have my bird, it will be time to go through the annual practice of re-wrapping my head around my turkey process: brine, compound butter of paprika, garlic and thyme, and douse with juices while roasting. Fresh Take will pause next Thursday while the birds (or whatever else you’re trying) cook, and will be back in your inbox on Dec. 2. Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving!

This is Forbes’ Fresh Take newsletter, which every Thursday brings you the latest on the big ideas changing the future of food. Want to get it in your inbox every week? Sign up here.

The Savvy Shopper’s Guide To Thanksgiving 2021’s Worst Price Hikes

It’s been a wild year for rising food prices, thanks to inflation, trucking shortages and supply chain breakdowns. Heading into the most important food holiday of the year, those pressures have recently pushed up some Thanksgiving ingredient prices by double-digits over last year’s costs. 

But it’s not all bad. Consumers are actually spending 18% less on turkey this year, while the cost of white potatoes has dropped overall. That’s based on a NielsenIQ scan of actual prices at supermarkets nationwide for the 30 days leading up to Nov. 6. NielsenIQ sources price data directly from the majority of retailers in the U.S. 

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VIDEO: How To Save Money During The Most Expensive Thanksgiving Ever

Yours truly discusses the Thanksgiving items worst-hit by inflation for the Forbes YouTube channel.

No Thanks: Average Cost For Thanksgiving Dinner Hits All-Time High

Global supply-chain issues continue to wreak havoc on everything from car sales to soybeans, and inflation has surged in many countries around the world. The USDA reported last week that wholesale turkey prices remain at all-time highs, but that isn’t translating overall to what’s priced on shelf. Wholesalers and retailers are eating the cost and continuing to discount in stores. 

The average cost of 2021’s Thanksgiving meal is $53.31, according to the American Farm Bureau, up 14% compared to 2020. That’s based on about 200 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, with volunteers specifically tasked with finding the cheapest possible prices.

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Tofurky Is Having A Huge Year. Killing The Thanksgiving Punchline Won’t Be As Easy.

Tofurky saw its plant-based ham roast numbers grow 631% in 2020, and Tofurky is again seeing more orders than last year. Sales are up 20% so far.

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The Best Organic Wines To Serve This Thanksgiving

Whether you are dining on turkey, ham, or a vegan feast for the Thanksgiving holiday, there is always room for several bottles of wine at the table. Given current trends towards cleaner labels and transparency, organic and other sustainable wines are the Fresh Take choice. But how do you track down wines produced organically, and what do all of the certifications really mean?

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Indigenous Cuisine Highlighted At Minneapolis Eatery

A powerful interview about the modern evolution of Indigenous foodways, which makes for some strong suggested post-turkey reading.

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By The Numbers: America’s 400th Thanksgiving

Thanks for reading the first annual special Thanksgiving edition of Forbes Fresh Take! Let me know what you think. Subscribe to Forbes Fresh Take here

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