Thanksgiving dinner cost up 1.3% from 2009

by Ron Sterk
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KANSAS CITY — A “classic” Thanksgiving dinner for 10 will cost $43.47 this year, up 56c, or 1.3%, from 2009, but down $1.14, or 2.6%, from 2008, according to an annual survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The cost of three items decreased, eight increased and one was unchanged, according to the 12-item survey, which has been conducted annually since 1986.

“Turkey prices are down some this year despite the fact that, according to the Agriculture Department, turkey production has been slightly lower in 2010 than in 2009 and supplies of turkey in cold storage are below last year’s level,” said John Anderson, an economist with the A.F.B.F.

The survey price for a 16-lb turkey was $17.66, or about $1.10 a lb, down 99c, or about 6c a lb, from last year.
In its latest Cold Storage report, the U.S.D.A. reported supplies of frozen whole turkeys at 283,872,000 lbs on Sept. 30, down 21% from a year earlier. And in its Nov. 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, the U.S.D.A. projected national wholesale turkey prices to average near 82c a lb in the fourth quarter of 2010, up 10c from the October-December period of 2009.

“This suggests that retailers are being fairly aggressive in featuring turkeys in special sales and promotions,” Mr. Anderson said.

Also showing lower prices this year were green peas at $1.44 per lb, down 14c, and a 14-oz package of cube stuffing at $2.64, down 1c. The price for 12 oz of fresh cranberries was unchanged from last year at $2.41.

Showing higher prices this year were whole milk at $3.24 a gallon, up 38c, one-half pint of cream at $1.70, up 15c, pumpkin pie mix at $2.62 for 30 oz, up 17c, two pie shells at $2.46, up 12c, sweet potatoes at $3.19 for 3 lbs, up 7c, a dozen rolls at $2.12, up 4c, and 1 lb of carrots and celery at 77c, up 5c. The cost of miscellaneous ingredients, such as coffee, onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter, needed to complete the meal totaled $3.22, up 72c from last year, according to the A.F.B.F. survey.

The non-scientific survey, conducted by volunteer shoppers, is “an informal gauge of price trends around the nation,” according to the A.F.B.F. The shoppers look for the best prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as minimum grocery purchases, the association said.
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