Published on: November 9, 2011by Kate McMahon
Surely the Pilgrims would shudder to learn that a fully-prepared, traditional Thanksgiving dinner is as easy to order as an iPhone or a best-seller – one click online and the turkey and trimmings are delivered to your doorstep.
I recently came across such an offer on Costco.com, which promised a “Complete Thanksgiving Dinner in a Box” for $149.99, an online exclusive. While the notion of pre-cooked turkey and trimmings arriving via UPS Ground would be viewed as heresy in many American homes (mine included), the Costco deal piqued my curiosity.
And it’s a perfect example of e-commerce changing the way consumers shop, and as noted in MNB yesterday, why retailers need to keep pace with competition or be left behind. A web-surfing survey of grocery stores across the country showed many promoting fully-cooked Thanksgiving dinners through online ordering and then in-store pickup.
The Costco deal, which serves eight people, includes a fully cooked 12-pound herb-rubbed turkey, baby carrots with butter and dill, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds, sweet potatoes in maple glaze, and turkey gravy. The $149.99 price includes a bonus $20 cash card for pies or breads (in store) and shipping and handling for the 27 pounds of food. The promo reads “A complete Thanksgiving dinner ready in about an hour.”
The fine print revealed instructions for thawing the turkey (in the refrigerator for three days) and then cooking it for about an hour and 30 minutes. The sides also needed thawing, and could be cooked in an oven, microwave or on a stovetop. Convenient, yes. Appetizing, no.
More common, and much more appetizing, are the prepared meals at quality stores such as Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, Andronico’s, Lunds & Byerly’s, Bristol Farms, and HEB’s Central Markets.
While Wegmans has been offering prepared Thanksgiving-to-go for some 15 years, this marks the first year customers can both order and pay online, then pick up in the store. The Wegmans meal for 10 to 12 people – including a 12 to 14 pound cooked all-natural turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans almandine, roasted butternut squash and cranberry-orange relish, costs $195.
At the Whole Foods, the meal for eight people with three sides, relish and gravy, ranges from $139.99 for an oven ready 12 to 14 pound turkey, $149.99 for a fully cooked 10 to 12 pound turkey, and $189.99 for a fully cooked 10 to 12 pound organic bird. And again, there is the opportunity to order and pay online, and select your pick-up time.
While checking the various websites, it struck me that somewhere short of a fully prepared meal is an opportunity for retailers to make Thanksgiving shopping easily accessible on line. I’m sure my home is like many others – all family members partake in the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner. My eldest daughter makes her signature stuffing, my youngest bakes a perfect pumpkin pie, and everyone peels potatoes.
There is joy in the cooking, just not in the crowds and hassles of pre-holiday shopping. If a store or an app maker created an easy way to order all Thanksgiving groceries in just one click, that would be a welcome new tradition.
What are your thoughts? Are you using non-traditional means to acquire or prepare your Thanksgiving meal this year? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
- KC's View: