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Thanksgiving Dinner at Lowest Cost in Five Years

Families have a little more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday as the average price for dinner will be the lowest it has been since 2013.

According to the 32nd annual American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey, the average cost this year for a family of 10 is just $49.12, a 75¢ decrease from last year’s average of $49.87.

“For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined,” says Dr. John Newton, AFBF director of marketing intelligence. “Even as America’s family farmers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant, and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year.”

The largest dinner feature, the traditional turkey averaging 16 pounds, came to a total of $22.38 for 2017. The celebrated turkey is also down from 2016 at a decrease of 2¢ per pound or a total of 36¢ per whole turkey. The decline in turkey prices is due to a continued large inventory in cold storage, which Newton said is almost up double digits from 2016.

“According to the latest USDA NASS analysis, the number of turkeys raised in Iowa surpassed 12 million in 2017, representing a 3% increase from the previous year,” says Tim Johnson, senior research and policy analyst with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF). “The overall trend in the U.S. is very similar, also showing slight growth and continuing rebound from lower production in 2015.”

Other items showing a decrease in price this year include: a gallon of milk at $2.99, a dozen rolls at $2.26, two 9-inch pie shells at $2.45, a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes at $3.52, a 1-pound bag of green beans at $1.53, and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee, butter, onions, sugar, flour, eggs, and evaporated milk at $2.72.

Items that showed a slight increase in prices include: a half-pint of whipping cream at $2.08, a 14-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix at $3.21, a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries at $2.43, and a 1-pound veggie tray at 74¢.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s annual survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, peas, a veggie tray, rolls with butter, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee, and milk in a quantity to serve a family of 10. About 140 volunteer shoppers across 39 states checked grocery store prices for the annual survey. AFBF’s survey menu hasn’t changed since its first survey in 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

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