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The Margin: Thanksgiving deals: Walmart, Aldi roll back prices on turkey and trimmings to counter inflation

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Here’s something consumers can be thankful for: some major supermarket chains are offering free turkeys or deep Thanksgiving discounts this year as shoppers grapple with record-high inflation.

Walmart
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announced Thursday that it’s selling turkeys and many trimmings for Thanksgiving at last year’s prices to “remove inflation.” 

“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,” the retail giant wrote in a press release. “We made significant investments on top of our everyday low prices so customers can get a traditional Thanksgiving meal at last year’s price at Walmart.” 

This includes staples for traditional sides like Jiffy corn muffin mix (52 cents a box), Stove Top stuffing ($1.98 a box) and Ocean Spray cranberry sauce ($1.76 a can.) As for the centerpiece, turkeys (which were already sold out online at press time) were going for about 98 cents a pound; compare that to wholesale turkey prices tipping the scales at more than $1.80 per pound in October, which is more than 40 cents per pound higher than last year, according to the Department of Agriculture. But watch for restocks, as Walmart’s Thanksgiving deals will run through Christmas until Dec. 26, 2022.

Aldi is also going back in time with its Turkey Day promotions, announcing this week that it’s celebrating Thanksgiving like it’s 2019. The grocery chain’s “Thanksgiving Price Rewind” is dishing discounts of up to 30% off on holiday dinner staples such as wines, mini quiches, fresh rolls, macarons and apple pie. The products that are part of the “blast from the past” promotion will be tagged with a special “rewind” sticker, Aldi explained in a press release. And the discounts will run through Nov. 29, 2022. 

“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,” said Dave Rinaldo, president of ALDI U.S., in a statement. “We expect to welcome tens of millions of customers in our stores this Thanksgiving season, and we want them to know they can count on us.” 

These Thanksgiving dinner discounts come as the consumer-price index for food surged 11.4% in September, the largest annual increase since 1979, according to government data, and the country’s annual inflation hit a 40-year high of 8.2%.

So BJ’s Wholesale Club is giving a free Butterball turkey (fresh or frozen) to club members who spend $150 in the same shopping trip, either in-store or online, between Nov. 1 and Nov. 10, 2022. After dropping $150, BJ’s
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club members will receive a coupon for their free bird that can be redeemed while supplies last between Nov. 12 and Nov. 23, 2022.

Retailers realize that such freebies can be a lifeline to shoppers worried about carrying on the Thanksgiving tradition this year.

“We recognize our members are hunting for incredible value, this year more than ever,” said Michael Leary, senior vice president of perishables and grocery at BJ’s Wholesale Club, in a statement. “So as we head into the season of giving, we’re excited to continue our tradition of offering our members a free turkey promotion.”

Read more: Americans are finally ready for a big family Thanksgiving celebration, but the cost might be hard to swallow. Here’s how to save money on food.

ShopRite’s annual free turkey giveaway is back, as well, for members who swipe their Price Plus loyalty card while spending $400 (which can be done over multiple transactions) between Oct. 16, 2022 and Nov. 24, 2022. And ShopRite isn’t just talking turkey; in fact, shoppers can choose between a whole frozen turkey (including kosher), a fresh or frozen turkey breast for smaller gatherings, a frozen roasting chicken, a frozen lasagna, a smoked ham, or vegetarian-friendly plant-based roasts or a “Tofurky” (tofu turkey) once they’ve spent $400.

The cash back rewards web and mobile app Ibotta also has a “Free Thanksgiving Dinner Offer” for shoppers who sign up for a free Ibotta account. There’s some legwork involved: You have to download the app, choose the grocery store where you’ll be doing most of your shopping, and then select offers from that store to add to your shopping list in the Ibotta app. Members who redeem 16 of these offers by Nov. 18, 2022 will unlock a free Butterball turkey offer (for a turkey up to $14) from Ibotta. And then after redeeming the turkey deal, shoppers can also unlock free popular side dishes — such as Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes, Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, McCormick Gravy Mix and Kuner’s Green Beans — by continuing to shop and redeem offers at their supermarket via the Ibotta app. Get more details here.

MarketWatch has more tips on how to save money while shopping for your Thanksgiving dinner here.

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