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Experts warn to buy Thanksgiving dinner early and be prepared to pay more

This year's Thanksgiving dinner is expected to be the most expensive in the holiday's history.

SAN DIEGO — Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, but if you're planning to cook up that big, traditional holiday meal, experts say you'd better start your shopping early and expect to pay more.

The problem is a combination of issues: demand will be higher as families get together after being separated last year, and supply chain disruptions mean less products will be on the shelves.

“We have the product now,” said Arturo Avila with Sprouts in Point Loma. “Come in. Get it. Secure it. That way you're not stressed out closer to the holiday.” 

Avila says customers started asking him about holiday dinners earlier than ever this year. And from their questions, it's clear they're leaning toward more intimate gatherings. “I do have a lot of questions about whether or not we're going to carry turkeys on the smaller side this year and we are - we're starting with the 10-12 pounders.”

Concerns range from running out of smaller turkeys, to a devastating pumpkin fungus in Illinois, and an aluminum shortage that's expected to lead to less canned goods on the shelves.

Mash it all together and it adds up to higher prices. This year's Thanksgiving dinner is expected to be the most expensive in the holiday's history. Turkey prices are up 10-15%. In fact, it's hitting all poultry because grain prices to feed the animals are considerably more expensive this year.

And just announced Wednesday, consumer prices jumped again, up more than 6% from a year ago. Last year, Von's sold their dinner for 6-8 people for $59.99. This year, it’s $69.99, up more than 16%. Ralphs raised their price from $70 to $75 - up 7%.

Prices that could put some turkey lovers in a foul mood, but still thankful to actually have a family Thanksgiving this year.

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