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Cost of Classic US Thanksgiving Dinner Up Slightly

Cost of Classic US Thanksgiving Dinner Up Slightly

22 November 2012

US – The retail cost of menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased less than 1 percent this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

AFBF’s 27th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.48, a 28-cent price increase from last year’s average of $49.20.

“At just under $5 per person, the cost of this year’s meal remains a bargain,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Our diverse farm and ranch families are honored to produce the food from our nation’s land for family Thanksgiving celebrations.”

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $22.23 this year. That was roughly $1.39 per pound, an increase of about 4 cents per pound, or a total of 66 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2011. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price increase compared to last year.

“Thanksgiving Dinner is a special meal that people look forward to all year,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “Most Americans will pay about the same as last year at the grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings. A slight increase in demand for turkey is responsible for the moderate price increase our shoppers reported for the bird,” he said.

Savvy shoppers may pay even less for frozen tom turkey compared to AFBF’s 155 volunteer shoppers who checked prices at grocery stores in 35 states.

“Turkeys may still be featured in special sales and promotions close to Thanksgiving,” Anderson explained. “Anyone with the patience to wait until the last minute to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving could be rewarded with an exceptional bargain,” he said.

In addition to the turkey, a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter) increased in price, to $3.18. A dozen brown-n-serve rolls also increased slightly this year, up 3 cents to $2.33.

Items that showed a price decrease from last year were: a half pint of whipping cream, $1.83, down 13 cents; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.77, down 11 cents; three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.15, down 11 cents; one gallon of whole milk, $3.59, down 7 cents; fresh cranberries, $2.45, down 3 cents; one pound of green peas, $1.66, down 2 cents; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix and two nine-inch pie shells, $5.53, down 2 cents.

Anderson noted that despite retail price increases during the last year or so, American consumers have enjoyed relatively stable food costs over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation.

Food Costs for 2013?

Corinne Alexander, a Purdue University ag economist, says Americans should prepare for grocery store food prices to go up in 2013. While food prices increased only 0.8 percent in September 2012, they are building on the 6.3 percent increase in September 2011.

"Commodity grain prices are at record levels because of the 2012 drought in the Midwest," she said. "Livestock and dairy producers continue to reduce their herds and, as a result, consumers will see higher prices for meat and dairy products in 2013."

Gasoline prices continue to rise, making trips to the grocery store even more expensive, but other energy prices are lower than a year ago. Alexander said electricity prices are down about 1.5 percent, and natural gas prices are about 8 percent lower than last fall.

Most Americans spend about 10 percent of their average annual incomes for food.

TheCropSite News Desk



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