Turkey and wine supply issues lead to shortage ahead of holidays

WINNIPEG –

This year, your holiday dinner might look slightly different as the B.C. floods and other supply chain issues have created stocking problems for many local stores.

The regular holiday push has begun at Boulevard Fine Meats and Deli, but turkey—a holiday staple on many tables—is in short supply this season.

“Extremely frustrating, especially around the holidays,” said Cara Potenza, the store’s managing owner. “So basically, we have enough to do our meals that we prepare for people but not much leftover to sell to customers.”

The store said it would have liked to have ordered around 200 birds but got less than 30.

Manitoba Turkey Producers, the organization that manages the province’s turkey farmers, said supply was ramped down after decreased demand and the chance COVID-19 prevented seasonal gatherings.

“Well, we weren’t sure what the market was going to allow, what kind of production was needed,” said Helga Wheddon, general manager at Manitoba Turkey Producers.

“When you’re working with live animals, you have to be cognizant that you’re not going to end up with a lot of production that’s not going to be consumed.”

Wheddon said production has ramped up, meaning stores will still have turkey, just in limited brands and sizes. On top of a turkey shortage, wines from certain countries may also be tough to come by.

“You know all the horrible things that happened out in B.C. with the floods has really shut down anything coming from New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Argentina,” said Mike Muirhead, vice president of Jones and Company Wine Merchants.

For small businesses, the supply issues are another headache in an already tough time.

“It’s very hard when it’s the busiest time of the year. You know, we do a lot of sales in December, but we’re lucky enough that we’ve been through it for 22 years, and we order a lot of stuff way back in June,” said Muirhead.

Muirhead noted that the shortage affects Manitoba Liquor Marts more than his store.

If the item you’re looking for isn’t available, the local stores are more than happy to try and find an alternative for your table.

“For sure, you know everything out of Europe is still doing great, France and Italy, which are very strong sectors for us,” said Muirhead.

“Hams, hams are fantastic. Chickens, roasting chickens, smoked chickens, even brisket, people are kind of thinking out of the box,” noted Potenza. 

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