The Thanksgiving Meal Deal

November 26, 2013 08:34 AM
The Thanksgiving Meal Deal

You can’t put a cost on the quality time you can spend with family and friends during the Thanksgiving holiday. You can put a cost on the dinner itself, though.

Purdue University agricultural economist Corinne Alexander shares the good news – food price inflation this year is "very low," she says.

"We’re expecting the overall Thanksgiving meal to be roughly the same price as last year, and potentially, depending on what sort of in-store specials are being offered, you might even spend less this year than you did last year on Thanksgiving," she says.

The stable price of turkeys is leading the charge. USDA predicts that wholesale prices for Eastern market whole turkeys will be between $1.00 and $1.06 per pound in the fourth quarter, which mirrors its $1.06 per pound price in 2012. Many grocery chains offer up the birds as a "loss leader" to get more customers in the store. That translates to good deals for consumers, Alexander says.

"That’s one of those items where savvy shoppers can look to coupons and store specials to really find the best price possible for their Thanksgiving turkey," she says.

Other holiday staples have seen significant price increases, Alexander adds. Sweet potatoes are up 10% from last year, for instance, and white potatoes are up by 15%. (It should be noted they were at record lows in 2012, however.)

On average, Americans spend about 10% of their income on food. Families affected by unemployment or working for minimal wage spend as much as 25% of their incomes on food.

"For these families, any food price rise is significant," Alexander says. "We should remember those who are less fortunate and share our food bounty."

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