You may be able to score a free Thanksgiving dinner this year by shopping at Walmart

You may be able to score a free Thanksgiving dinner this year by shopping at Walmart

October 29, 2020

Over a third of Americans say they will spend less on Thanksgiving this year, according to a recent survey of over 1,000 people by cash-back shopping app Ibotta. And a program launching Sunday may be able to help some Americans stretch their budget even further by offering cash back on Thanksgiving staples like turkey, green beans and stuffing. 

Ibotta is teaming up with Walmart and brands like Campbell's, Butterball and Coca-Cola to launch a program that aims to provide free Thanksgiving dinners to at least 1 million American families this year.

The shopping app, which has been downloaded more than 40 million times, will offer users 100% cash back on nine Thanksgiving dinner staples, including over 200 varieties and sizes of Butterball turkey roasts and full birds, when the items are purchased in-store at Walmart or through the retailer's curbside pick-up or delivery services.

Here's the full list of included items:

  • Campbell's condensed cream of mushroom soup (10.5-ounce can)
  • 2-liter bottle of Coke
  • All varieties of Butterball 3-pound turkey roast or $9.98 cash back on all Butterball whole turkeys
  • McCormick turkey gravy seasoning packet (0.87-ounce package)
  • French's crispy onions (2.8-ounce package)
  • Idahoan instant mashed potatoes (8-ounce package)
  • Great Value stuffing (6-ounce package)
  • Great Value cranberry sauce (14-ounce can)
  • Great Value frozen green beans (12-ounce bag)

The program, which will officially be live in Walmart and in the Ibotta app on Sunday, November 1, is about giving back, Bryan Leach, CEO and founder of Ibotta, tells CNBC Make It. 

"This is just a really tough year for so many people," Leach says. Americans are struggling with a resurgence of Covid-19 cases and the country has been involved in an "incredibly bitter and divisive election." So now, more than ever, Americans may need something to look forward to, he says.

To redeem the cash-back offer on these Thanksgiving dishes, new users need to download the Ibotta app or newly launched Ibotta Browser Extension, unlock the offer and shop for your Thanksgiving items at Walmart. Once purchased, you'll need to scan your receipt or link your Walmart Grocery account to verify the purchases. 

Current Ibotta app users will need to download the browser extension from their computer and log in before proceeding to the company's app, website or browser extension to unlock the offer. They will then shop the items and verify their purchases. All users can only get one cash back reward for each item per household and/or Ibotta account. The maximum cash back reward is $20.27. 

"After months of uncertainty and financial strain, this giveaway will help ensure that Americans across the country have a good meal to sit down to on Thanksgiving Day, and we're humbled to be included around the table," Whitney Arthur, shopper marketing director at Coca-Cola, said in a statement. 

The program, which Leach calls the "first of its kind" in the rewards space, is set to run through Thanksgiving, but it is while supplies last. Ibotta says it will determine if any limits are needed based on user demand and metrics, adding that the availability of ancillary items like the gravy packet and cranberry sauce may expire but that the company will try to keep core items such as the turkey, stuffing and Coke available through the holiday. Users will be given seven days notice of any expirations.

"We can't give away 50 million of these things. But I view it as kind of a million is the minimum," Leach says. "I would love it if the thing went completely viral and we were having the problem of needing to spend $30 million on it instead of a third of that, just because I think it would mean that we're really on to something."

In addition to the cash-back rewards, Ibotta is also donating 150,000 meals to Feeding America to help alleviate hunger. "We wanted to do something where we could reach at least a million Americans. That meant looking at a multi-pronged strategy," Leach says. 

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