Richmond Times-Dispatch

Gobble, gobble! Area food retailers report record orders for Thanksgivi­ngmeals

- BY GREGORY J. GILLIGAN ggilligan@timesdispa­tch.com (804) 649-6379

Richmond-area food retailers selling Thanksgivi­ng meals are seeing a surge in the number of prepared food orders this year.

Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods is filling 73% more orders this week for its Thanksgivi­ng full turkey dinners, its side dishes and desserts compared to a year ago. More than 10,610 food items are being picked up this week.

One reason for the uptick is public health experts urging citizens to stay home and avoid big Thanksgivi­ng gatherings.

“People are celebratin­g as smaller immediate family units this year,” said Scott Aronson, the company’s president. “They are looking for convenienc­e and ease to feed maybe four or six or eight people instead of a larger gathering of 16 or 20 people.”

The Henrico County-based company said 1,400 orders are being picked up from its operations off Westmorela­nd and Thalbro streets on Wednesday. That’s a record number of orders to be filled in one day, the company said.

“We are staffed up to handle the volume and do our best to satisfy customers,” Aronson said.

To handle the influx, Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods made changes to the parking lot configurat­ion by closing off some entrances so there is one way to drive in to pick up orders and one way to exit.

It worked on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday when the company handled 1,000 orders.

Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods had orders for

1,659 turkey dinners and turkey a la carte this year, up 96% from the 847 orders in that category last year.

Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods also has made 51,000 dozen of its White House Rolls and more than 102,000 pies. It also shipped to 13,700 various side dishes to supermarke­ts.

The company also is supplying select Kroger stores with its holiday meals this year for the first time.

Other retailers also report an increase in the number of prepared foods being ordered.

An employee at The Fresh Market near Carytown, for instance, said that store saw a 400% increase in orders this year compared to 2019.

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