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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

This year's Thanksgiving won't be immune to the supply chain issues and labor shortages that have been roiling the nation, but the turkey supply is strong.

The big picture: You might be dealing with a pricier Thanksgiving dinner due to inflation, and you might have to find alternatives for some of your favorite side dishes. But don't fret about the main dish.

What's happening: The only turkey compromise families might have to make is buying a bigger bird than they need this year, Butterball CEO Jay Jandrain tells Axios.

  • Smaller turkeys — between 10 and 14 pounds — are in shorter supply than usual because many people are still limiting travel and having smaller gatherings this year, he says.
  • And labor shortages at meatpacking plants prompted many turkey suppliers to extend the birds' lifetimes before slaughtering and processing them. So there are just more big turkeys — 16 pounds and up — than smaller ones this year, says Jandrain.
  • One reason grocery stores may have fretted about having enough turkeys is that many people bought their birds early, he says. October turkey sales were up 200% year-over-year, per the market research firm IRI. But supply remains strong for last-minute shoppers.

Other Thanksgiving staples, however, are a different story:

  • Cranberry sauce: Ocean Spray told ABC News that its ability to supply canned sauce is being interrupted by an aluminum can shortage and transportation issues.
  • Pies: Refrigerated pies and bakery pies are slightly understocked at vendors around the country, IRI told Good Morning America.
  • Sweet potatoes: North Carolina farmers — who are responsible for about 40% of the nation's sweet potato supply — told a local TV station they would be charging more this year to offset the rising labor costs prompted by worker shortages.
  • Gravy: The canned stuff is in short supply at stores, Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association told Bloomberg Law.

The bottom line: This may be the year to start getting creative with traditional Thanksgiving favorites.

  • And if you end up with a bigger turkey than you need, start brainstorming fun ideas for leftovers.
  • Jandrain shared one with me that he's definitely trying on Friday morning: It's a waffle sandwich with turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce in the middle — the waffle is made out of leftover stuffing.

Go deeper

How the pandemic changed how we eat

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A food revolution began pre-pandemic, partly due to a culture war inspired by climate change.

  • COVID — with its supply chain issues, social distancing, worker shortages, even the loss of smell and taste — accelerated all that.

America's food industry is transforming, from farm to your table.

Updated 47 mins ago - World

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar.Photo: Hkun Lat/Getty Images

A Myanmar court sentenced the country's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to four years in prison on charges of "inciting public unrest" and breaking COVID-19 protocols, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the first of several verdicts that could result in the 76-year-old Nobel laureate being imprisoned for the rest of her life. The 11 charges she faces have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

4 hours ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"