What’s Stuffing American Shopping Carts this Thanksgiving

November 15, 2017


With the temperature dropping and pumpkin-spice everything filling store shelves, most grocers have already turned their attention to the Thanksgiving turkey. It’s a time that requires a lot of planning in the supermarket industry, with all-hands-on-deck to ensure the holiday season kicks off without any major bumps.

The week of Thanksgiving is one of the highest-selling weeks for all food and beverage categories combined in the U.S.—second only to Christmas, according to Nielsen. Nearly 400 million pounds of turkey are sold during November, or 77 percent of whole turkeys sold throughout the entire year. Despite this, Americans are experimenting with the traditional Thanksgiving menu as they celebrate the holiday with separate groups of family members or a “Friendsgiving” with friends. As a result, sales of whole turkeys have fallen in the U.S. as sales of ham, vegetables, and tofu has increased.

In fact, the majority of Americans don’t even include a bird on their Thanksgiving shopping list. Just 17 percent of households purchase a turkey in November. While Americans are cooking up new trends and traditions how they celebrate the holiday, many food items remain traditional staples on the Thanksgiving dinner place. This meal—often the largest meal cooked throughout the entire year—provides opportunities across the store beyond turkey.

Below are sales and volume for some of the most popular Thanksgiving food items that Americans shop for: