2012-11-22 / Front Page

Thanksgiving cost up slightly

Survey shows cost of dinner up 1 percent

LANSING – An annual survey looking for the average cost of the classic Thanksgiving meal shows that the cost to feed 10 remains remarkably affordable, with onlya1percentincreaseover last year. The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 27th annual Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey outlines the minimal increase in the cost of the November meal.

Nationally, the price of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and other traditional side dishes totaled $49.48, just 28 cents more than in 2011. In Michigan, the survey revealed the same total, but contained some deviations from the national averages for specific products.

Turkey was 30 cents more per pound than the national average, while a gallon of Michigan milk was almost $1 less expensive. Pumpkin pie mix was 90 cents pricier than the national average, but cranberries were 46 cents cheaper.

Most of the meal’s higher average costisattributabletoa3to4 cents-per-pound increase in the price of the turkey itself, which at $1.39 per pound, totaled $22.24 for a 16-pound bird.

The modest increase is likely due to increased consumer demand this time of year, according to AFBF. Other meat products have been relatively more expensive in recent months. Along with seasonal interest, this equates to a higher demand for turkey.

Turkey production, however, remains strong, with the current supply of birds in cold storage about 5 percent higher than a year ago.

The entire shopping list included: a turkey (a frozen, self-basting young tom); herb-seasoned cube stuffing mix; a pumpkin pie mix; two 9-inch frozen pie shells; fresh sweet potatoes, carrots and celery; enriched brown-and-serve rolls; frozen green peas; a gallon of whole milk; fresh cranberries; whipping cream and a few other basic ingredients for tying everything together.

In addition to the turkey, the rolls, onions, eggs, sugar, flour and butter also increased slightly in price. Less expensive than last year are: whipping cream, cubed bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, milk, cranberries, peas, pumpkin pie mix and pie shells. The carrots and celery remained unchanged.

Since the survey began in 1986, the average cost of the Thanksgiving meal has gradually inched upward from the mid- to upper-$20 range. Ten years ago, the bill totaled $34.56; a decade before that it was $26.39.

Americans spend far less for food – approximately 10 percent of their disposable income – than do citizens of any other nation.

This year’s national survey averaged retail grocery costs found by 150 volunteer shoppers at grocery stores in 35 states.

Return to top