CHICAGO – New data collected by IRI focuses on the availability of a basket of 25 Thanksgiving-related grocery categories across stores nationally, amid a holiday season constrained by supply chain challenges. 

“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 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,” Davey continued. 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.” 

Key Thanksgiving-related findings for the week ending Oct. 19, include: 

  • Five Thanksgiving-related categories have elevated and worsening out-of-stock rates. Product availability of whipped toppings, liquid gravy, frozen pie/pastry shells, refrigerated pies and bakery pies categories was between 5 and 11 percentage points lower this week than the same time last year, and between 1% and 9% lower than the recent two-month average. Among these challenged categories, liquid gravy had the lowest in-stock rates this week, down 11 percentage points from the year-ago period and 9 percentage points compared to the last two months average availability. 
  • Promotional and pricing activity already reflects shortages. As a result of lower supply, retailers are running between 1 and 9 percentage points fewer promotions in these five categories compared to last year. On average, prices in these five categories have risen about 3.6% over this time last year, with frozen pie/pastry shells showing the highest pricing increase of 6% over the year-ago period. 
  • Shoppers should expect lower levels of promotion and an increased need for substitutions. While some of these categories typically see high levels of promotion as the holidays approach, retailers will have less incentive to promote this year given the high demand and low in-stock rates. As a result of availability, lesser anticipated promotional levels and continuing inflation, shoppers may need to substitute items across key Thanksgiving categories (e.g., substituting fresh for frozen desserts) or try to find their favorite products at other stores. 
  • Early indications of supply chain risk to other Thanksgiving-related categories. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and demand begins to spike, data foreshadows availability risk for additional Thanksgiving-related items, including cranberries and stuffing. 

The IRI CPG Demand, Supply, Price Inflation and Promotion Indices are calculated from daily point-of-sale and e-commerce transaction data reported from major chains’ sales transactions. 

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