Prices slightly decrease for the Thanksgiving dinner table
Thanksgiving dinner is slightly more affordable this year thanks to a 44-cent price decrease for a feast that serves 10 people.
Each year, the American Farm Bureau Federation conducts an informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table. This year’s 28th annual survey reported an average cost of this year’s feast for 10 people at $49.04, which is a 44-cent price decrease from last year’s average of $49.48.
AFBF President Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer, said at less than $5 per serving, Thanksgiving dinner is still an excellent value for consumers thanks to the nation’s farm and ranch families.
During this holiday season, many farmers and ranchers will be reaching out to consumers in-person or through social media to answer questions about the food they grow or the poultry, pork and livestock they raise, Stallman added.
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 $21.76 this year. That was roughly $1.36 per pound, a decrease of about three cents per pound, or a total of 47 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2012. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price decrease compared to last year.
Ronnie Anderson, President of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, said most Americans will pay about the same as last year at the grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings. Strategic shoppers may pay even less for frozen tom turkey compared to AFBF’s 167 volunteer shoppers who checked prices at grocery stores in 34 states, as special sales and promotions on turkey and other holiday food items will continue right up to Thanksgiving.
In addition to the turkey, other items that declined in price included a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.18; one pound of green peas, $1.54; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.67; fresh cranberries, $2.42; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.85; and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.49.
Items that showed a moderate price increase from last year included three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.36; one gallon of whole milk, $3.66; and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.10.
In addition, a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter) increased to $3.20. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery increased to 81 cents.
The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. Further, despite retail price increases during the last year or so, American consumers have enjoyed relatively stable food costs in general over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation.
The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home, which indicates a one percent increase compared to a year ago.
Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers were asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.
The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.
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