Turkey pushes price of Thanksgiving dinner higher

by Laura Lloyd
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A “classic” Thanksgiving dinner for 10 will cost $49.48 this year, up 28 cents, or less than 1 percent, from 2011, according to an annual survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The cost of eight items decreased, three increased and one was unchanged, according to the 12-item survey, which has been conducted annually since 1986.

The largest expenditure — a 16-lb turkey — cost $22.23 in 2012, which translated to about $1.39 per lb., or about 4 cents per lb. more than in 2011, an increase of less than 1 percent. The price of the turkey showed the biggest annual jump of all the ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal included in the survey.

“Most Americans will pay about the same as last year at the grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings,” said John Anderson, AFBF deputy chief economist. “A slight increase in demand for turkey is responsible for the moderate price increase. Anyone with the patience to wait until the last minute to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving could be rewarded with an exceptional bargain.”

Items showing lower prices this year included a ½ pint of whipping cream at $1.83, down 13 cents; a 14-oz package of cube stuffing at $2.77, down 11 cents; 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes at $3.15, down 11 cents; a gallon of whole milk at $3.59, down 7 cents; 12-oz of fresh cranberries at $2.45, down 3 cents; 1 lb. of green peas at $1.66, down 2 cents; a 30-oz package of pumpkin pie mix at $3.02, down 1 cents; and two pie shells at $2.51, down 1 cent. The price for carrots and celery for a 1-lb relish tray was unchanged at 76 cents.

Showing higher prices this year were a 16-lb turkey at $22.23, up 66 cents from last year, miscellaneous ingredients, up 8 cents to $3.18 in 2012, and a dozen rolls, up 3 cents at $2.33, according to the AFBF survey.

The non-scientific survey, conducted by volunteer shoppers who are “asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals,” the AFBF said.
The menu items on the survey have remained unchanged from the beginning in 1986 to guarantee consistent price comparisons.

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