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Grocers Gear up for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated by gathering families, friends and loved ones together for a feast. Approximately 46 million turkeys will be eaten on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. The PHOENIX looked into the expenses for hosting such a feast through some of Loyola’s closest grocery stores.

Whole Foods Market (6009 N. Broadway St.), Aldi (6221 N. Broadway St.) and Devon Market (1440 W. Devon Ave.) are three grocery stores commonly used by Loyola students.

The week before Thanksgiving, Aldi stores, a grocery chain known for its lower prices, will feature a special price for turkeys. They will be $1.19 per pound with an average turkey size of 13 pounds, according to Aldi’s website.

Aldi declined to comment.

The cost of turkeys at Devon Market is similar, ranging between 99 cents per pound and $1.49 per pound. Caitlin Webster, the 23-year-old service desk manager at Devon Market, said she buys all of the ingredients she needs to cook her Thanksgiving meal from scratch at the independent grocery store. Webster spends about $60 on her Thanksgiving spread for her and her three roommates.

“We try to price things at a reasonable price that we know our customers will be able to afford and will be willing to spend that kind of money on,” Webster said.

Devon Market serves the Rogers Park community as well as a community of Eastern Europeans who come from as far west as O’Hare to shop for cheese and meat items not commonly sold elsewhere, she said.

Whole Foods Market is known for its natural and organic products, which often come with a higher price tag. Turkeys at Whole Foods Market cost between $2.69 per pound and $6.99 per pound. The grocery chain also has an online food delivery service, which offers fresh turkeys  and meal sets ranging from $39.99 to $249.99.

Whole Foods Market representatives were unavailable for comment.

Prices are important for families such as Loyola senior Olivia Castro’s, who spends more than the average amount to feed her large extended family.

Nationwide, prices for poultry fell 0.2 percent from August to September 2017, but are still 0.2 percent higher than last year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) findings for September 2017. Factors such as severe weather or a stronger U.S. dollar influence the price of poultry, as well as other products.

This year saw lower-than-average wholesale turkey prices, which should mean lower costs for consumers this Thanksgiving, according to a report by the USDA. Last year, the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people was $49.87, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 31st annual informal survey on Thanksgiving prices. This year’s estimation will be released Nov. 16, according to Mike Doherty, senior economist at the Illinois Farm Bureau.

“Oh, we spend hundreds,” Castro, 21, said. “There’s about 30 to 40 people, maybe 50. It’s a lot of people.”

Shoppers are planning ahead, according to Webster. Many people are asking about turkeys now because they want to get them now rather than later, she said.

“We will run out by the time Thanksgiving happens,” Webster said. “Right before Thanksgiving, it’s going to be insane. Right up until about 5 p.m. on Thursday, we’re going to be busy.”

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