Rise in Food Costs Delivers More Expensive Thanksgiving

November 22, 2011 03:41 AM

The big-ticket item at this year's traditional Thanksgiving feast is up nearly 23% from last year, according to the annual American Farm Bureau Federation's Thanksgiving dinner price survey. They report the price for whole turkey this year averages $1.35 a lb., up from $1.10 last year.

In all, the survey indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.20, a $5.73 price increase from last year’s average of $43.47. But AFBF president Bob Stallman says at an average of under $5 per person, the cost is still a bargain.

John Anderson, an AFBF senior economist, says turkey prices are higher this year primarily due to strong consumer demand both here in the U.S. and globally. He says, "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."

Following are AFBF Thanksgiving Dinner Survey results:

Item 2010 Price 2011 Price Difference
16-pound turkey 17.66 21.57 +3.91
Milk, 1 gallon whole 3.24 3.66 +.42
Pumpkin pie mix, 30-oz. 2.62 3.03 +.41
Whipping cream, ½ pint 1.70 1.96 +.26
Cubed stuffing, 14 oz. 2.64 2.88 +.24
Green peas, 1 lb. 1.44 1.68 +.24
Rolls, 12 2.12 2.30 +.18
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs. 3.19 3.26 +.07
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz. 2.41 2.48 +.07
Pie shells (2) 2.46 2.52 +.06
Misc. ingredients 3.22 3.10 -.12
1-pound relish tray  (carrots and celery) .77 .76 -.01
TOTAL 43.47 49.20 +5.73


AFBF says the 13% increase in the national average cost for a classic Thanksgiving dinner is somewhat higher but still tracks closely with the organization’s 2011 quarterly marketbasket food surveys and the federal government’s Consumer Price Index for food.


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