Butterball Goes Miniature
Thanksgiving isn’t looking the same this year, as I’m sure you’ve found out: the biggest drinking day of the year — colloquially known as Blackout Wednesday — is ending at 10 P.M. for much of the country, as states like Ohio, New York, and California implement curfews; the airports are emptier with fewer people traveling to see family (less than 50 percent traveler throughput this week compared to the same time last year); and the beloved turkey is getting downsized.
Suppliers struggle to shift
The rising number of COVID-19 cases throughout the past few weeks have made life difficult for people in the turkey business. Since the summer, farmers like Greg Gunthorp have been preparing for the holiday by slaughtering and freezing turkeys in the 15- to 24-pound range. But the last-minute change of plans have caused shortages of smaller turkeys.
According to data from Nielsen, 70 percent of gatherings will be with less than six people and 4.3 percent of Americans will not be getting together at all.
Omaha Steaks — the online beef retailer — offered three-pound turkey breasts for the first time and sold out of its 10-pound earlier than normal, according to Reuters. And it’s across the country as well; a Rhode Island store manager told WPRI 12 “We’re seeing a dramatic increase in the smaller turkeys, more the 10 to 12 pound size.”
Acquiring new customers through digital
Walmart (WMT) has been one of the few retailers to benefit from the pandemic, especially as families stockpiled in the early stages of lockdowns. They’ve also been aggressively investing in e-commerce (such as the new Walmart+ service) to compete with Amazon, which has paid off. Its share price has hit all-time highs in recent weeks and looking to continue its streak.
This week, Walmart partnered with digital coupon app Ibotta and several food brands to give away common Thanksgiving items like turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes. The promotion is most likely intended to garner new shoppers to use Ibotta at Walmart for all of their shopping needs.
Whatever the size of your turkey, this Thanksgiving may have a permanent impact on where and how we gather as a family for years to come. Maybe Walmart will offer a free Christmas dinner as well — we could use it…