Tucson, AZ

Thanksgiving Cancelled? Dinner Favorites Might be Missing This Year

Greyson F

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You might be missing some Thanksgiving favorites.Pro Church Media/Unsplash

Halloween is right around the corner. Christmas decorations are going up in stores around town, and yet, sandwiched in between, there’s the official start to the holiday season: Thanksgiving. If you’re like many families around greater Tucson, last year’s Turkey Day may not have lived up to the usual hype. With most forms of travel strictly limited and frowned upon (not to mention traffic between the United States and Mexico all but shut down), few families were able to gather as normal. Here in Tucson, things should be different, however, this time around it might be the food that’s missing and not the family. 

Chances are, you’ve noticed certain foods are difficult to come by at the grocery store. You may also have noticed many of your favorite restaurants in Tucson (as well as in Phoenix) don’t have certain staple items on the menu. This is because of a food distribution problem that’s multi-layered. 

Yes, is currently a massive backlog of shipping container ships sitting off the coast of California, waiting to dock in order to off-load. This is causing some food shortage issues for pantry items that may be coming in from China and other nations. However, while the shipping containers have slowed down the import of goods, which may make it difficult to obtain gifts for the holidays, the food shortage brewing up before Thanksgiving is stemming from other issues. 

Major food distributors around the country and, more specifically, here in Tucson, have scaled back or even shut down deliveries to grocery stores and restaurants. Companies like United Natural Foods and Sysco have run into labor shortages, preventing the distribution of food around Tucson. 

Sysco has tried to stay out in front of the problem, offering warehouse workers up to $70,000 annually (plus a $3,000 signing bonus) to work in facilities around the region, as well as truck drivers up to $90,000 annually (with a $12,000 sign-on bonus), and yet even these numbers were not strong enough to bring in enough workers to avoid the labor shortage. 

The labor shortage has thinned out food coming into Tucson. And yet this driver shortage is not specific to food distribution. Major brands like Coca-Cola have run into driver and warehouse worker shortages (you may have noticed it’s difficult to obtain Died Coke at convenience stores. This is due to the shortage, which will only increase). Alcohol distribution will run into this same problem as well. Compounded with products coming in from Asia through California’s shipping channels and it could mean many of your favorite Thanksgiving day products will be gone prior to Turkey Day.

So what can you do? There likely won’t be any turkey shortages, nor will you run into potato issues, but there’s a chance other products will be hard to come by when the end of November rolls around. So, just to make sure you are prepared and ready to go for the holidays, much like your gift shopping, it is highly recommended to purchase whatever non-perishable food items you will need for the holiday season early on. Otherwise, you might be forced to go without here in Tucson. 

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