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Shortages drive cost of Thanksgiving dinner near record high

Shipping costs and delays, along with a record price for turkey mean you'll spend more to put your holiday meal on the table.

INDIANAPOLIS — Thanksgiving is just four weeks away and families are looking forward to gathering in person this year.

If you have a big crowd to feed, it's a good time to start saving and thinking ahead to make sure the perfect Thanksgiving dinner gets to the table. 

The cost of turkey is set to surpass the all-time record and it's almost twice the usual price to ship sweet potatoes. 

"Apparently the smaller turkeys are in short supply right now," said Trey Lanaux of Langenstein's in New Orleans. "I'm hearing that a lot of staples might be in short supply so we're worried about that."

The receipt for a Thanksgiving turkey and all of the delectable sides will cost 4 to 5 percent more, CBS News says. It's not just the food that costs more, even the price is up for the throw-away aluminum pans popularly used for the holiday.

Due to the supply-chain backup, aluminum prices are touching a 10-year high, Markets Insider reports. Steel prices are up more than 200%, as well, which means your can of cranberry sauce will cost more, too.

Alcohol prices are also expected to be higher, but not necessarily for what's inside the bottle. Shortages of bottles, labels and corks are driving prices upward. 

"We're not getting everything we order," said Lanaux. "We maybe get 75% of what we order."

"We're having trouble getting a lot of things," said Adam Cutrer of Chris' Specialty Foods in New Orleans. "But for the stuff we can get, it's double the price of normally we get it for."

In comparison to last year, Thanksgiving dinner was the lowest it had ever been since 2010, the American Farm Bureau reported in 2020. 

Last year, "Thanksgiving feast for 10 remains affordable at $46.90 or less than $5.00 per person," the Farm Bureau reported. "This is a $2.01 decrease from last year’s average of $48.91."

Some tips to try to save a little money on your Thanksgiving meal include starting your shopping early, making a turkey breast instead of the whole bird and asking guests to pitch in with dishes of their own.

(WTSP in Tampa, Florida and WWL in New Orleans contributed to this story.)