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Don't panic! Ukrop's boss breaks down Thanksgiving turkey shortage

Posted at 6:34 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 18:34:34-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Even though it’s been a strange two years to run any kind of food business, Scott Aronson got a message recently that might take the cake. The president of Ukrop's, the Richmond-based grocery store turned food brand, said its supplier sent them a message that pre-cooked turkeys Ukrop's ordered would not be coming into town.

“It’s Thanksgiving. Where’s the turkey!?” he said with a smile.

Ukrop’s announced it will not serve turkey with its holiday meals this year, citing pandemic-related shortages related to packaging, transportation, and labor within the broader supply chain.

“Had ordered turkeys months ago, everything was on track and then the email arrived, 'We’re not making them this year. Sorry, we’re not going to be able to supply them.' Of course, we picked up the phone and called any other supplier we have and it was the same story,” Aronson said. “The suppliers we’re working with have said they’re not making any pre-cooked birds.”

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Before you have a holiday meal panic, note that the issue at Ukrop's is with “pre-cooked” turkeys.

The non-profit group Consumer Reports said because of production downturns, small and fresh turkeys might be more difficult to come by and cost more; however, the USDA told them the supply of frozen turkey is still robust.

Supply chain uncertainty still has Aronson somewhat on edge about the Ukrop’s Thanksgiving sides.

“Everything is on order, everything has been double-checked and triple-checked. But, it could be the day before it’s supposed to arrive it does come,” he said.

Ukrop’s will still sell them, along with Thanksgiving hams for customers who want to keep adjusting to the pandemic along with them or maybe start a new tradition.

“Normally ham is saved for Christmas, but maybe this year, nothing like a good Thanksgiving ham!” Aronson said.

Ukrop's said it made the announcement now to give customers time to adjust plans, if need be. It’s why Aronson suggested families do plenty of planning ahead of their holiday meals this year.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.