The average cost of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table this year — dinner for 10 — is $49.12. That’s 75 cents less than last year’s cost and the lowest total in five years.
That’s according to a report from the American Farm Bureau Federation and its Delaware affiliate.
Farm Bureau director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton said, “Even as America’s family farmers and ranchers 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 32nd annual price survey found turkeys averaging $1.40 a pound, or $22.38 for a 16-pound turkey, down two cents from 2016. Turkey represents nearly half the total cost of Thanksgiving dinner.
A quick check of one of the largest grocery chains in Delaware found frozen turkeys at 98 cents a pound. A fresh, locally grown turkey could run as much as $3.20 a pound. Consumers continue to see lower retail turkey prices due to continued large inventory in cold storage, which is up almost double digits from last year, Newton explained.
The shopping list for the informal survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a vegetable tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey, were a gallon of milk, $2.99; a dozen rolls, $2.26; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.45; a three-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.52; and a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.53.
“Milk production has increased, resulting in continued low retail prices,” Newton said. “In addition, grocers often use milk as a loss leader to entice consumers to shop at their stores.”
Items that increased modestly in price were: a half-pint of whipping cream, $2.08; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.81; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.21; a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, $2.43; and a 1-pound veggie tray, $.74.
“Whole whipping cream is up about four percent in price, due to increased consumer demand for full-fat dairy products,” Newton said.
First conducted in 1986, AFBF’s survey is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. The menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.