Thanksgiving food prices down slightly from 2015

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner will cost slightly less this year, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said based on its annual informal price survey.

A classic Thanksgiving dinner will cost $49.87, down 24 cents from $50.11 last year, which was the highest in the 31-year history of the survey, the AFBF said. The cost of five items on the list was lower from 2015 while the cost of seven items was higher. The menu has been unchanged since the survey began in 1986.

“Consumers will pay less than $5 per person for a classic Thanksgiving dinner this year,” said John Newton, AFBF director of market intelligence. “We have seen farm prices for many foods — including turkeys — fall from the higher levels of recent years. This translates into lower retail prices for a number of items as we prepare for Thanksgiving and confirms that US consumers benefit from an abundant, high-quality and affordable food supply.”

 Thanksgiving
Average Thanksgiving dinner cost through the years. 
 

Average prices of items that declined included: a 16-lb. turkey at $22.74, down 30 cents from 2015; 30-oz. of pumpkin pie mix at $3.13, down 7 cents; a gallon of whole milk at $3.17, down 8 cents; a 1-lb relish tray at $0.73, down 6 cents; and miscellaneous ingredients at $2.81, down 37 cents.

Higher-priced items from a year ago included: 12 dinner rolls at $2.46, up 21 cents; two pie shells at $2.59, up 12 cents; 1 lb. of green peas at $1.58, up 6 cents; 12 oz. of fresh cranberries at $2.39, up 10 cents; a half pint of whipping cream at $2, up 6 cents; 14 oz. of cubed stuffing at $2.67, up 6 cents; and 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes at $3.60, up 3 cents. 

The survey involved 148 volunteer shoppers in 40 states who were asked to find the lowest food prices without coupons or promotional deals such as a minimum food purchase. The AFBF makes clear that the survey is not scientific, but it does note that the average price for this year’s dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home, which most recently showed about a 2 percent decline from a year ago. 



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