Bird Flu Woes Won't Thwart Thanksgiving

November 24, 2015 12:28 PM
Bird Flu Woes Won't Thwart Thanksgiving

The 2015 bird flu death toll measured in the millions, but those losses won’t come back to haunt consumers at the dinner table this Thanksgiving. The American Farm Bureau Federation reports a classic holiday meal serving 10  people will only cost 70 cents more than it did last year.

AFBF tracks year-over-year (YOY) cost of food items one might expect to see during Thanksgiving dinner, including turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin pie. The big-ticket item, a 16-lb. turkey, is $1.39, or 9 cents per pound, more expensive than last year, according to AFBF deputy chief economist John Anderson.

“Retail prices seem to have stabilized quite a bit for turkey, which is the centerpiece of the meal in our market basket,” he says.

Other items on the holiday list were up slightly, including the cost of rolls, pie shells, cubed stuffing, pumpkin pie mix and sweet potatoes. Some items cost less relative to 2014, including milk, relish tray (carrots and celery), green peas and fresh cranberries.

The bird flu and concerns over U.S. pumpkin production did not significantly alter the price tag, Anderson notes.

“Turkey production is down this year, but not dramatically,” he says. “And despite concerns earlier this fall about pumpkin production due to wet weather, the supply of canned product will be adequate for this holiday season.”

The total due at checkout comes to $50.11, compared with $49.41 in 2014. AFBF has conducted its survey every year since 1986, Thanksgiving dinner for 10 cost $28.74. AFBF makes no scientific claims about its survey but says the menu remains unchanged for more accurate YOY comparisons.

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