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How to Save Big on Your Thanksgiving Turkey

These supermarkets are chopping prices on holiday birds.

Butterball turkeys
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner always involves a whirlwind of activity, but it'll be a little easier on your bank account, as major supermarket chains have cut prices on turkeys and other holiday staples to help customers grappling with inflation.

Walmart, the largest food retailer in the US, rolled back prices on turkeys and other Thanksgiving dishes -- including stuffing, gravy, potatoes and pumpkin pies --  to 2021 prices.

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"We made significant investments on top of our everyday low prices so customers can get a traditional Thanksgiving meal at last year's price," Walmart's executive vice president of food, John Laney, said in a Nov. 3 statement.

Whole turkeys are currently available for less than $1 per pound, according to Laney. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Prices for the holiday birds had been soaring in recent months, the result of both inflation and an ongoing avian flu epidemic that's led to the deaths of more than 8 million turkeys since February.

The retail cost of an 8- to 16-pound turkey was $1.99 a pound on Oct. 21, According to the US Department of Agriculture, representing a 73% increase from 2021.

Discount supermarket chain Aldi has also given holiday shoppers a break: Through Nov. 29, Aldi's "Thanksgiving Price Rewind" program matches 2019 prices on festive meal items like sweet potatoes, frozen vegetables, brown-and-serve rolls and apple pie. 

"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, Aldi U.S. President Dave Rinaldo said in a press release.

In Dallas, Aldi stores were selling frozen turkeys for as low as $1.07 a pound, the Dallas Morning News reported

Another discount supermarket chain, Lidl, has been selling turkeys for as low as 49 cents a pound since Nov. 2.

Touting a Thanksgiving dinner for under $30, Lidl's Thanksgiving basket includes a 13-pound turkey and many other holiday dishes. To get the discount, shoppers must be members of myLidl, Lidl's free loyalty program.

At its 300-plus locations across the US, ShopRite is offering Price Plus club members who spent $400 by Nov. 24 a choice of one of several free entrees -- including a frozen turkey (up to 21 pounds), an Empire kosher frozen chicken (up to 7 pounds) or a 96-ounce Stouffer's frozen lasagna.

Stop & Shop has also frozen the price of Shady Brook Farms frozen turkeys at 49 cents per pound, the cost in 2021. The chain, which has more than 400 locations in New England and the mid-Atlantic region, is also offering to match other retailers' advertised prices on holiday birds through Thanksgiving.

In its Nov. 10 weekly report: the USDA said retailers were dropping prices with the "intent of bringing the consumer through their door." In other words, supermarkets still believe in loss leaders.

Due in large part to these price-cutting measures, for the period ending Nov. 16 frozen whole turkeys have dropped to an average of 95 cents a pound, according to the USDA's latest report

As for concerns that the bird flu outbreaks would mean a shortage of turkeys, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said there are enough birds for all -- though they might be less impressive than expected.

"Turkeys being raised now for Thanksgiving may not have the full amount of time to get to 20 pounds," Vilsack said in a Nov. 1 press briefing.  "I don't think you're going to have to worry about whether or not you can carve your turkey on Thanksgiving.  It's going to be there, maybe smaller, but it'll be there."