Since the start of the pandemic, shortages of grocery products have been prevalent, and as the holiday season approaches with supply chain challenges still afoot, retailers and consumers are left wondering what to expect on the shelves. To answer this question, IRI® has released new data on availability of five Thanksgiving-related grocery categories across stores in the U.S.
“As the holiday season approaches and widespread supply chain challenges continue to impact industries across the economy, IRI is tracking a basket of items for their availability, demand, price, and promotion for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas,” said Dr. Krishnakumar S. Davey, President of IRI Client Engagement. “Halloween season is shaping up nicely with the category growing in double digits, and we are recording significant out-of-stock rates on several Thanksgiving-related grocery categories at this time. IRI’s real-time data provides critical insights for retailers and manufacturers managing an increasingly complex and volatile supply chain environment, particularly ahead of high-demand events. By tracking availability of critical holiday-related products and categories, IRI is enabling our retailer and manufacturing clients to make better decisions on merchandising, promotional activity, and other variables to drive their growth and profitability, and deliver for shoppers.”
With Thanksgiving a month away in the States, IRI found that five of the categories related to the holiday have elevated and worsening out-of-stock rates. According to a release, product availability of whipped toppings, liquid gravy, frozen pie/pastry shells, refrigerated pies, and bakery pies categories were between 5–11 percent lower for the week ending October 19, than the same time last year. Additionally, they were between 1–9 percent lower than the recent two-month average.
Due to lower supply, promotional and pricing activity has already started to reflect the shortages. IRI data showed that retailers are running between 1–9 percent fewer promotions in these five categories compared to last year. Similarly, the average prices in the five categories have risen by approximately 3.6 percent over last year, with frozen pie/pastry shells showing the largest increase at 6 percent.
Because of shortages, consumers should expect lower levels of promotions and an increased need for recipe substitutions. While shoppers usually see high levels of promotions heading into the holidays, retailers will have less incentive this season due to high demand and low stock. For buyers and retailers, this means needing to stock the shelves with possible substitutions for shoppers and focusing displays and cross-merchandising opportunities on these substitutions.
Lastly, because of the shortages across these five categories, IRI is predicting availability risk for additional Thanksgiving-related items as the holiday approaches. This could include items such as cranberries and stuffing.
As more insights become available surrounding holiday retail demand and supply, Deli Market News will remain the place for updates.