Thanksgiving turkey prices will hit a record this year, NYC grocery chain CEO warns

As many Americans start putting together their grocery lists for Thanksgiving dinner, one New York City grocery chain CEO warned the main dish could tip over your budget gravy boat.

“This Thanksgiving, no change, the highest prices ever for turkeys, the highest price ever for your Thanksgiving dinner,” Gristedes Foods and United Refining Company CEO John Catsimatidis said on “Varney & Co.” Tuesday.

The CEO’s comments come as economists signal that it may be more affordable for Americans to eat out on Thanksgiving this year, rather than cooking at home.

According to a recent Wells Fargo report, “Is This the Year to Dine Out for Thanksgiving?,” the cost of staples from poultry to fruits will outpace the total food at home and food away from home categories on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) .

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Turkey prices alone are projected to rise as high as 23% compared to the fourth quarter last year, according to Wells Fargo analysts and authors of the reportCourtney Schmidt and Brad Rubin.

Gristedes Foods CEO John Catsimatidis tells Americans to prepare for “the highest prices every for turkeys” on “Varney & Co.” Tuesday, November 15, 2022. (Getty Images)

They also cautioned that turkey supplies will be “more limited” due to continuing impacts of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

“Turkey prices jumped after the bird flu wiped out livestock earlier this year. While inventory has rebounded, the cost per pound will be higher,” the authors noted.

Meanwhile, the price of eggs, which have also been impacted by the bird fluhave already risen 32.5% while butter and flour have risen 25.8% and 17.1%, respectively, according to the analysts, which used the August CPI data to show the increase in cost since November 2021.

So far, fruits and vegetables have had the lowest cost increase, with prices rising 7.3%.

Almost a year ago, Catsimatidis predicted that rising food prices and decades-high inflation was “here to stay,” and had said manufacturers are “panicking” as food, energy and transportation costs go up.

The Labor Department reported last week that the CPI, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 0.4% in October from the previous month. Prices climbed 7.7% on an annual basis.

Frozen turkeys at Whole Foods

Some grocery retailers are running Thanksgiving dinner or turkey specials to combat decades-high inflation. (Getty Images)

Catsimatidis’ comments contradicted TheFederalReservewhich has largely held firm in its belief that inflation is “transitory” and coming down from its peak, as the bank embarks on one of the most aggressive tightening paths in decades.

“Jay Powell has done his job,” Catsimatidis told host Stuart Varney Tuesday. “He’s done a great job of destroying the real estate industry instead of Washington fixing the problem.”

Meantime, Americans can find some relief in prices if they seek out alternatives or shop at chains that are taking a public stance against inflation and matching their prices from previous years for Thanksgiving staples, like Aldi’s, Walmart and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

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“Saving money is a top priority for our customers right now, so this year, we’re removing inflation on an entire basket containing traditional Thanksgiving items,” John Laney, executive vice president of food at Walmart US said in a blog post.

“Providing amazing products at the absolute lowest prices is what we’ve always done, and we know right now that’s more important than ever,” Dave Rinaldo, president of Aldi US, also said in a statement.

On top of higher prices hitting grocery shelves, Catsimatidis, who also owns D’Agonisto Supermarkets in New York City, also claimed that the number of store thefts has been “bigger than usual” this year.

“We hired more security, more retired NYPD to prevent it, versus the national chains – they’re not street fighters,” Catsimatidis said. “They don’t know how to deal with them [crime] problems in New York City.”

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FOX Business’ Daniella Genovese, Megan Henney, and Catie Perry contributed to this report.

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