Americans can expect a pricey Thanksgiving this year, due to severe inflation and shortages that have begun to cripple the wallets of people already struggling to make ends meet in the current economy.
A recent New York Times report found that “Thanksgiving 2021 could be the most expensive meal in the history of the holiday.”
The issue won’t just affect food items, but also materials that are commonly used in Americans’ Thanksgiving preparation.
In August, The Wall Street Journal reported the cost of aluminum had skyrocketed, “reaching 10-year highs” due to shortages and delays in shipping. At the time, the Journal noted that there was plenty of aluminum for the world to use, but it was stuck in Asia. American and European buyers couldn’t get access to it due to issues at ports like container shortages and massive amounts of orders.
Agricultural economics experts, heads of groceries, and farmers are saying that almost everything that goes into a typical American Thanksgiving feast will be more expensive in 2021.
A recent October U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics report revealed:
For the year ended September 2021, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 5.4 percent. Over that period, prices for food at home increased 4.5 percent, driven by a 10.5-percent increase in prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs. Prices for food away from home increased 4.7 percent.
The Consumer Price Index showed that from last September 2020 to this September, “prices increased for cereals and bakery products (+2.7 percent), fruits and vegetables (+3.0 percent), and nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials (+3.7 percent). Prices for dairy and related products increased 0.6 percent.”
Turkey will also likely be more expensive this year with some reports showing that fresh turkey production is set to be down 1.4%, an effect some attribute to the high price of corn to feed the animals.
A USDA report from last week showed that the price of frozen turkeys was already up from last year. The price of fresh birds is also up.
As The New York Times reported:
Packaged dinner rolls will be pricier because the cost of almost all of the ingredients that commercial bakers use has gone up. Canned cranberry sauce will cost more because domestic steel plants have yet to catch up after pandemic shutdowns, and China is limiting steel production to reduce carbon emissions. As a result, steel prices have remained more than 200 percent higher than they were before the pandemic.
Inflation has severely impacted Americans all across the country, and the Biden administration’s response to shipping supply issues and rising costs has frustrated much of the public.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was criticized after she seemed to make light of shipping delays impacting Americans when she was asked about the things President Joe Biden has done in order to address supply chain issues.
A reporter asked, “So just a question on the timing on the supply chain issue…actions that the President has taken. It was clear in March of 2020, when COVID hit, that the supply chains across the world had been disrupted. Even as the sort of work to fight back against COVID proceeded, people — it was crystal clear that things were not improving on the supply chain. People couldn’t get dishwashers and furniture and treadmills delivered on time, not to mention all sorts of other things. So why is it —”
Psaki interjected, “The tragedy of the treadmill that’s delayed.”
The administration seemed to downplay the effects of inflation earlier in the year, but over the weekend, “Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned during a CNN interview with Jake Tapper…that inflation would continue to remain late into next year,” as The Daily Wire reported.
“So let me ask you about that, because this rising inflation is hitting Americans’ wallets hard, impacting everything from gas prices to groceries,” Tapper said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“When do you expect the inflation to get back to the 2 percent range, which is considered normal?” Tapper asked. “2022? 2023? When?”
“Well, I expect that to happen next year,” Yellen responded. “Monthly rates of inflation have already fallen substantially from the very high rates that we saw in the spring and early summer. On a 12-month basis, the inflation rate will remain high into next year because of what’s already happened. But I expect improvement by the end of — by the middle to end of next year, second half of next year.”
Yellen later conceded that “we are going through a period of inflation that’s higher than Americans have seen in a long time.”