Thanksgiving Dinner Inflation

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 2011 – The retail cost of menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased about 13 percentthis year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Click on the image for a high resolution PDF version. AFBF’s 26th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table 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. The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers. The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.57 this year. That was roughly $1.35 per pound, an increase of about 25 cents per pound, or a total of $3.91 per whole turkey, compared to 2010.  The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price increase compared to last year. In addition, “the era of grocers holding the line on retail food cost increases is basically over,” Anderson explained. “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.
Yearly Averages
1986 – $28.74
1987 – $24.51
1988 – $26.61
1989 – $24.70
1990 – $28.85
1991 – $25.95
1992 – $26.39
1993 – $27.49
1994 – $28.40
1995 – $29.64
1996 – $31.66
1997 – $31.75
1998 – $33.09
1999 – $33.83
2000 – $32.37
2001 – $35.04
2002 – $34.56
2003 – $36.28
2004 – $35.68
2005 – $36.78
2006 – $38.10
2007 – $42.26
2008 – $44.61
2009 – $42.91
2010 – $43.47
2011 – $49.20
“Although we’ll pay a bit more this year, on a per-person basis, our traditional Thanksgiving feast remains a better value than most fast-food value meals, plus it’s a wholesome, home-cooked meal,” Anderson said. A gallon of whole milk increased in price by 42 cents per gallon, to $3.66. Other items that showed a price increase from last year were: a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.03, up 41 cents; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.52, up 6 cents; a ½ pint of whipping cream, $1.96, up 26 cents; one pound of green peas, $1.68, up 24 cents; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.88, up 24 cents; a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.30, up 18 cents; three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.26, up 7 cents; and fresh cranberries, $2.48, up 7 cents. He noted that despite retail price increases during the last year or so, American consumers have enjoyed relatively stable food costs over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation. The 13 percent increase in the national average cost reported this year by Farm Bureau 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 (available online at http://data.bls.gov/) . Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey. Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75. The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. A total of 141 volunteer shoppers from 35 states participated in this year’s survey. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons. Article excerpted from AFBF’s website.