How inflation has impacted Canadian Thanksgiving

The ever-increasing food prices are affecting Canadian households across the board, from grocery shopping to family celebrations. Going into Thanksgiving, Canadians were looking at this year’s holiday a little differently, with 88 per cent expecting to be impacted by inflation and 18 per cent expecting to spend less than last year.

From turkey to sides, prices were up an average of 17.5 per cent, with the in-store bakery category seeing the most dramatic increase at 47 per cent more expensive than in 2021. The next highest items were pasta and noodles (up 41 per cent), and beans and grains (up 39 per cent). Also of note is that alcoholic beverages jumped 31 per cent from last year.

Projected sales had 2022 Thanksgiving surpassing 2021 numbers by 9.6 per cent, but even though purchase frequency increased by 21.1 per cent, basket size and spend per trip were lower than last year. This suggests that consumers may be returning to the store multiple times based on sales or discounts.

This theory is further supported by the share of wallet numbers reported. Loblaws’ share of wallet decreased by six per cent, while Costco’s grocery department went up by 6.4 per cent over last year. This suggests that people were in fact conscious of cost and value as they planned their dinners.

Also, fewer Canadian households bought turkeys this year, but fresh turkey and frozen turkey sales were up overall, suggesting that the turkeys that were purchased needed to feed larger groups as gatherings grew.

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All in all, it looks like Canadians approached Thanksgiving by dividing and conquering to maximize value. They made several trips to the store to save money with promotions, they bought in bulk for discounted pricing, and they gathered together in larger groups to make the most of the holiday amid rising inflation.   

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