Will supply chain issues impact my Thanksgiving party?


Question: Will we have a hard time finding all the traditional dishes for our Thanksgiving dinner?

Short answer: Officials usually say no. That’s because most of the foods that are traditionally served on the dinner table on Thanksgiving are grown locally in large quantities, and in many cases right here in North Carolina.

That’s not to say that a shortage of truckers and farm workers in the fields, coupled with general inflation, won’t mean higher prices or less variety than customers were used to in the past, but consumers shouldn’t have any problems finding most of the traditional holiday fare.

Long answer: Container ships unable to dock and unload their cargo. Trucking companies are begging drivers as loads remain stuck in warehouses. Empty shelves greet shoppers in stores.

As the United States – and the rest of the world – emerged from the economic slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains have struggled to meet pent-up demand. With survival a real issue for many businesses, as quarantines and stay-at-home orders have hampered the economy, businesses have dramatically cut spending to survive the pandemic. But many then struggled to find workers or were caught off guard as the economy picked up as things reopened.

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That should make Christmas shopping a challenge this year, with a good chance that some of the more sorted gifts will likely be stranded in transit from Asia.

Food, however, has largely been immune to most issues outside of bottlenecks with certain products, such as when problems at slaughterhouses led to a shortage of bacon earlier this year and growing demand. has seen chicken wings become scarce across the country.

A freighter waits to enter the Port of Los Angeles.  Supply chain problems have caused shortages of goods across the country, with freighters waiting off Southern California to unload.  ROBERT HANASHIRO / USA TODAY

The worst news about Thanksgiving? The prices of turkey and other foods are higher than in previous years.

The Farm Bureau predicts that the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people is up 14% from last year, averaging just over $ 53.

“Several factors have contributed to the increase in the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” Veronica Nigh, the office’s senior economist, said in a statement. “These include dramatic disruptions to the US economy and supply chains over the past 20 months; inflationary pressures throughout the economy; difficulty forecasting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and strong global demand for food, especially meat.

In addition, “The trend of consumers to cook and eat at home more often due to the pandemic has led to increased demand for supermarkets and higher retail food prices in 2020 and 2021, relative to prices. before the pandemic in 2019. “

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But there could also be a silver lining, a triangle if you like, with that. Turkeys will generally be bigger this year due to labor shortages and delays at processing plants, Jay Jandrain, Butterball president and CEO, told The Associated Press.

Even though there are supply chain issues, North Carolina agriculture officials are quick to point out that it’s easy to buy local when it comes to setting your table. for Thanksgiving dinner.

With agriculture being the state’s primary industry, many Thanksgiving staples are also great cash crops in Tar Heel state, according to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

  • Do you like the sweet potato casserole? Well, since 1971, North Carolina has ranked # 1 in sweet potato production, with 61% of the country’s sweet potatoes harvested from over 105,000 acres in 2020.
  • The main attraction: North Carolina is the nation’s No. 2 in turkey production, with 31 million head of turkeys raised in the state.
North Carolina is # 2 in turkey production in the United States
  • Hammer it: The state also ranks second in the country for pork production, with 19.6 million pork heads. “It’s a safe bet that if you eat ham or turkey for the holidays it is likely to be raised in North Carolina,” department spokeswoman Andrea Ashby said in an email. .
  • Do you like devilish eggs with your Thanksgiving feast? The state produces more than 4 billion eggs per year, worth nearly $ 450 million.
  • Pumpkin pie? North Carolina farmers have you covered, with about 2,600 acres of pumpkins harvested in 2020, according to figures compiled by the federal and state departments of agriculture. It was good enough for the 13th in the country.
  • Green vegetables? According to the state “What’s in the season?” graphically, a plethora of vegetables, greens and even nuts should be available fresh from the farm. They include beets, broccoli, cabbage, cabbage, kale, green mustard, pecans, spinach, and turnips.

Journalist Gareth McGrath can be reached at GMcGrath@Gannett.com or @GarethMcGrathSN on Twitter.