COLUMBUS (WCMH ) — With Thanksgiving Day just around the corner, there are sure to be plenty of last-minute shoppers hitting the stores before they set the table for their holiday feasts.
“You know, it just kind of snuck up on me with everything going on and stuff,” says Giant Eagle shopper Peggy Sherry on Wednesday.
This year, Sherry, like many others, will be holding much smaller gatherings than they have in years past.
“A lot of times we have 20 people. This year it will just be eight,” Sherry explains.
But fewer large gatherings mean more people are cooking themselves this year than ever before.
“We expect that increase always at this time of year, but then really had to look at it through the pandemic lens,” says Jannah Jablonowski with Giant Eagle.
It also means increased demand for things like smaller turkeys.
“We are in a really good position across the board with all of our turkey varieties,” Jablonowski adds.
But with little time left to thaw frozen turkeys, last-minute shoppers may have to find an alternative.
Grocers say you should allow 24 hours of thawing for every five pounds of turkey; meaning those that haven’t purchased their bird already will want to think fresh, not frozen.
“Some people are going towards a turkey breast instead of a full turkey, and then looking to add in different sides,” adds Johanna Harper with Meijer.
With turkeys still in full supply, stores say other Thanksgiving favorites like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and even pie, should be relatively easy to find.
“We were able to get ahead of it and really be prepared on our end, kind of looking forward to those changes in consumer shopping trends,” says Jablonowski.
And while many still choose the in-store experience, both Giant Eagle and Meijer say there’s another option for those cutting it close.
“The online shopping. The demand for that has really grown during this entire pandemic and continues to evolve and grow,” Harper explains.
Both stores say they are continuing to implement strict cleaning and sanitizing protocols to protect those that do continue to plan to shop in-store.