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Rising food prices affect Thanksgiving dinner plans. business and economy news

Instead of buying all her Thanksgiving food in one fell swoop, Rebecca Raymond buys the feast’s components from here and there each week to keep her costs down.

Raymond, 48, lives in Montgomery, New York State, with her husband and son. He has been unemployed since January, although he is ready to start a new job right after the holidays. Her husband works, but his pre-tax salary is high enough to prevent the family from qualifying for aid, such as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps low-income families buy food. or food banks, Raymond said. He posted on Twitter on November 15, “We did not receive approval for food pantry distribution for Thanksgiving.”

“It doesn’t consider rent, utilities, heat, insurance,” Raymond said of applications for food assistance. Raymond and his family have cut back significantly on groceries as prices have risen this year.

“We’re eating a lot of pasta, chicken (when it’s on sale), hamburger casserole (cheaper meat) and dinner for breakfast,” which, Raymond said in an email, are less expensive than what she used to buy. were items. “Even the price of milk is coming down a little bit,” he said, adding, “I know it will get better at some point, but with income restrictions on food banks and SNAP benefits, people are still Can’t even afford to feed their families the way they want.

Since last Thanksgiving, grocery prices in the United States have increased by 13 percent, according to the latest Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the price of nearly every component of the traditional Thanksgiving meal has increased significantly over the past year. This has increased the troubles of Americans already grappling with extremely high inflation And making a dent in a holiday where the focus is on food, family and friends.

The price of poultry, including turkey, has increased by 16 percent. Fresh produce, the key to many side dishes, is up 9 percent. Boxed pasta is up 17 percent and cheese is up 12 percent. For the American Thanksgiving table, canned fruits and vegetables, including canned cranberry sauce and canned pumpkin, are up 19 percent. Bread is up 15 percent. Coffee is up 15 percent. The cost of baked goods has increased by 16 percent.

And if you thought making your own sweets would be cheaper? Flour is up 25 percent, butter 27 percent and eggs 43 percent.

“The rising cost of materials has held us back a bit,” Raymond said. Although she said she was able to source the ingredients for four of her usual side dishes, one had to go. “Mashed potatoes are usually on the menu, and both instant and produced potatoes are not worth making because of the cost.” And she swapped out her family’s usual morning treats for a less expensive option. “Breakfast is usually pastries or cinnamon rolls—those have been replaced with blueberry muffins from the mix I have in my cabinet,” Raymond said.

His family would host a friend and friend’s son without anywhere else to go but would not host anyone else. He said he’s filling groceries with a basket he received from his son’s school.

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‘Thanksgiving Price Rewind’

Some discount grocery chains in the US have taken steps to ensure that business does not slump during the holidays as prices continue to rise.

US outlets of the German grocery store chain Aldi are running a promotion called “Thanksgiving Price Rewind” in November, in which they have rolled back the prices of holiday appetizers, desserts, sides and beverages to 2019 levels — in some cases, Up to 30 percent off. “Why not try an additional side dish this year, or invite a few more friends or family members over?” said Dave Rinaldi, president of ALDI US, in a press release on Nov.

Kelly Jones of Pittsburgh, a cashier at an Aldi store there, said she took calls for $7,000 in groceries Sunday during a four-hour shift at the register. “Grocery retail sales are up the week leading up to Thanksgiving,” she said. “Customers are arguing with us over the limits on coupons and butter and the way the receipt shows the markdown on the turkey. But some are very nice — I got punched when I helped a man find his food stamp balance and A pat on the back. So, there were high points.

Walmart announced on November 3 that they would sell turkeys and some trimmings, including stuffing, canned cranberry sauce and corn muffin mix, for 2021 prices. The deals at the discount chain will continue till December.

Surge in demand in food banks

one august Survey A study by Feeding America, a nonprofit network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries, found that 90 percent of food banks reported demand outstripping supply this year due to rising grocery prices.

A man shops at a grocery store in Glenview, Illinois, US
Some US discount grocery chains slash prices on holiday food items[File: Nam Y Huh/AP Photo]

Cynthia Cumming, 65, administrator of the food pantry at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in West Orange in New Jersey state, said her pantry is on track to serve 24,000 people in 2022, more than three times the number of people she currently serves. 2019, the rise in food prices before and after the epidemic. Cumming said they also transitioned from monthly to weekly food distribution during that time.

The Thanksgiving and December holiday season, however, “is when the general American public tends to be very liberal,” Cumming said. “In a way, Thanksgiving is the least of a person’s problems.” Food isn’t any more affordable than it was last month, and prices haven’t gone down, but food pantry patrons will usually get their fixings for a full Thanksgiving dinner, courtesy of increased donations of food and time to the organizations filling the pantry shelves. From .

However, Cumming said, “You can’t live on charity alone. Donations are the icing on the cake, not the bones of what we do.”

Cumming’s Pantry is part of an interfaith network of 20 member pantries in Essex County, New Jersey, operated by Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity (MEND). It receives some food from MEND, including fresh produce and other fresh food, and some through partnerships with regional businesses, such as Panera Bread, a national chain that donates a day’s bread.

As pantry administrator, she also receives a $10,000 annual stipend — an allowance she makes by purchasing food staples and returning them to the pantry and not covered by donations from local grocery stores or the two bags her distributorship gives out for filling. Weekly out to each patron.

Since 2010, Cumming said, “I spent more money buying food this year than I have in any other year.” He estimates he has spent $20,000 so far in 2022, double what he spent last year. She said she often can’t afford to buy as much produce as she wants and instead buys things like peanut butter and jelly and ramen noodles that her pantry patrons can get from other sources.

“If ShopRite is having a sale on something, I’ll get the sale [price]Cumming said, referring to a supermarket chain with locations in six northeastern US states. “But the food pantry doesn’t get a break here.”

She also notes that not only have prices gone up, but portions have shrunk. “All these companies have cut four to six oz. [113 to 170 grams] Of all their belongings,” she observes. A bag of chips that now costs closer to $5, he said, contains only 11 ounces (312 grams), whereas the same size bag used to contain 16 ounces (454 grams). Same thing with cereal, he said. A half gallon (1.9 L) of ice cream now contains only 48 fluid ounces (1.4 L) of the product. “Why would they want to change?” she asks. “Making More Money for Less Product.”

Cumming, who works in addition to the food pantry for her local school district, said she and her husband, who works full time, are affected by rising food prices. “As long as we pay our bills and we buy our food every month, we’re still living paycheck to paycheck,” she said.

Cumming requests grant money from other organizations to try to offset their stipend and their coordinator and the person handling their waste so that the donations only go toward providing food, but, she said, that’s usually not enough. Is.

This shouldn’t affect people’s willingness to give, Cumming said, but he hopes people will still be thinking about food insecurity after the holidays. And, she notes, the money goes far beyond the bag of donated food. Cumming said monetary donations for her pantry have been down this year.

“You know, I think sometimes people like [to donate] Cumming said, instead of giving me money, a bag of food. “I try to give people that I can do a lot more with the money you give me than with the bag of food you give me.”

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