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Bay Area Grocery Stores Compete to Keep Prices Down, Shelves Stocked

SUNNYVALE (KPIX) -- A week before Thanksgiving, grocery stores have stocked up on a lot of food items people will use for a traditional holiday meal even as supply-chain logjams and rising food prices persist.

"We started turkey orders at the beginning of the month and we've sold hundreds and hundreds," said Dan Underwood, store manager at Zanotto's Market in Sunnyvale. "We tried to source it whatever we could, from wherever we could get it so, though we may not have eight or nine varieties of a certain item, we've got half of that so we still have what you need."

KPIX made a shopping list of typical items for Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, stuffing and pumpkin pie. The receipt included 25 purchases for a total of $175.38. Zanotto's staff acknowledged this may be a basic version missing additional purchases that could bring the price above $200. The supplies we collected would likely feed a gathering of six to eight people.

"Pricing has been going up for several months and I don't think that really changes," said Nate Rose, senior director of communications for the California Grocers Association.

"The stores do whatever they can to not raise prices because it's such a competitive industry, it's really easy for somebody to just go down the street to another store."

Uncertainly remains in the industry 18 months into the pandemic but grocers planned for Thanksgiving shopping at the beginning of the year to assure their supply. The increase in cost for most items has made it painful for customers when they reach the cash register.

"I'm kind of thinking it's going to be somewhere in the middle of next year, it's getting better a little bit but I think they still have a long way to catch up," Underwood told KPIX on Thursday referring to supply-chain issues.

He advises customers to get their holiday meal shopping done before Tuesday. He says they should feel confident that most of the items they want will be available this weekend. Some substitutions may be necessary and they may find less variety this year.

"I would shop early so that you can make sure you can get it, I mean we're pretty fully-stocked and I kind of wandered around and everyone else seems to be right now," Underwood said.

KPIX went to a Safeway store a few blocks away to see how their supply and prices compared. Inside, there were many of the same items available at the same price. Plenty of frozen turkeys were still available. While some items were cheaper, other products were not in stock.

"Everything's gone up, our costs have all gone up, labor has gone up, we try to keep it down as much as we can," Zanotto's manager Underwood said. "I think everybody wants to celebrate, wants to celebrate, hopefully, being happy and healthy. But I think everyone is going a little bit bigger than they did last year."

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