INTERNATIONAL - For the best price on an all-American Thanksgiving dinner, shoppers should head to German-owned grocery stores.
The average cost for a Thanksgiving dinner has dropped about 1.5 percent from last year, according to a report from Bloomberg Intelligence, with discount chains Aldi and Lidl offering the best savings of the 15 retailers surveyed.
The cheapest dinner, based on a basket of 20 items including a 12-pound turkey, potatoes, corn and green beans, can be purchased at Aldi, for a total of $35.83. Lidl follows at $43.31. For hosts with long guest lists, receipts for warehouse clubs BJ’s, Sam’s Club and Costco are 1.3 percent lower than last year. Adjust for standard supermarket sizes, and all had lower totals than Walmart and Target, whose receipts totaled at $58.94 and $64.97, respectively.
Yet, while Aldi’s basket cost dropped 14 percent from last year, shoppers at conventional grocery stores are seeing price increases, including by as much as 24 percent at Stop & Shop. Baskets at Walmart are up 7.5 percent. The higher prices are partly driven by inflation in eggs, dairy and some produce, according to the report.
Specialty stores also raised prices. A mostly organic meal will cost about 7 percent more on average than last year, the report found. The biggest basket increase was about 17 percent at Fresh Market. Last year, Whole Foods shoppers basked in the glow of the Amazon.com Inc. acquisition and enjoyed a 16 percent discount compared with a year earlier. This year, prices crept up 1.8 percent, bringing the bill to $115.85.
Loyal Whole Foods shoppers looking for a deal have an option, said Jennifer Bartashus of Bloomberg Intelligence, who wrote the report. Look for the retailer’s private label. “If you chose the 365 Brand as often as you could, the basket would have declined 8 percent ,” she said, referring to the chain’s in-house line.
Turkey prices are down across the board: A basic 12-pound bird is selling for an average of $1.59 per pound, a penny less than last year, while natural and organic turkeys dropped to an average $2.49 per pound from last year’s $2.52.
The main takeaway for supermarket watchers, says Bartashus, is to not discount the discount stores.
“They are a force to be reckoned with.”