KANAWHA CITY, W.Va. (WOWK) – Buying your holiday ham or turkey early may be a good strategy because inventory is selling out fast.

“Stock’s low, and it’s going to go fast too because every time I put hams out at regular price, they buy them up, so they’re scarce. Just get out and start shopping now,” said Sam Angius, meat department manager at Piggy Wiggly.

Smaller fresh and frozen turkeys may be in shorter supply this year due to rising transportation costs and a shortage of truck drivers, reported Today.com.

Food costs at the wholesale level rose 2% in September.

“Prices are moving up because there’s a tight supply. I don’t think that we’re going to be out of turkeys or hams, but it is going to be tight,” said Piggly Wiggly owner Rick Joseph. “Don’t wait until the last minute.”

According to economists, the jump in wholesale and retail prices has reflected the impacts of the pandemic as strong demand is running up against supply chain problems.

“Packaging is a problem. Can’t get the plastic. Even having trouble getting cardboard for the boxes. The labor situation, a lot of companies are having labor problems processing these foods,” said Joseph.

Yet despite facing sticker shock in grocery aisles as snarled global supply chains slow the flow of goods, Americans continued to spend at a solid pace in September. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% from August, a stronger-than-expected showing.

Some customers, like Patricia Sisson, have already bought their holiday meat.

“I shop early because I don’t want to get hit with the crowd,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.