Thanksgiving dinner cost up 13 percent

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – The retail cost for a Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and basic trimmings, is up about 13 percent this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is $49.20, a $5.73 price increase from last year’s average of $43.47, according to AFBF’s 26th annual informal price survey of classic items.

However, the cost of this year’s meal remains a bargain, at just under $5 per person, said Bob Stallman, AFBF president. 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, are on the AFBF survey shopping list. There are also plenty of leftovers.

This year, a 16-lb. turkey cost $21.57, which is approximately $1.35 per lb. — an increase of about 25 cents per lb., or a total of $3.91 per whole turkey, compared to 2010. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price increase compared to last year.

“Turkey prices are higher this year primarily due to strong consumer demand both here in the US and globally,” said John Anderson, an AFBF senior economist. “The era of grocers holding the line on retail food cost increases is basically over. Retailers are being more aggressive about passing on higher costs for shipping, processing and storing food to consumers, although turkeys may still be featured in special sales and promotions close to Thanksgiving.

“Although we’ll pay a bit more this year, on a per-person basis, our traditional Thanksgiving feast remains a better value than most fast-food value meals, plus it’s a wholesome, home-cooked meal,” Anderson added.

One gallon of whole milk increased 42 cents per gallon to $3.66. Other items that increased from last year were: a 30-oz. can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.03, up 41 cents; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.52, up 6 cents; a half-pint of whipping cream, $1.96, up 26 cents; 1 lb. of green peas, $1.68, up 24 cents; a 14-oz. package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.88, up 24 cents; 12 brown-n-serve rolls, $2.30, up 18 cents; 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes, $3.26, up 7 cents; and fresh cranberries, $2.48, up 7 cents.

A 1-lb. relish tray of carrots and celery declined by a penny to 76 cents, while a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter) decreased in price to $3.10.

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