November 28, 2002

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Feast for a Penny Less Than Last Year

For the last four years, Missouri consumers have enjoyed their home-cooked Thanksgiving Day feast for less than the previous year. This year, a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 guests will cost $3.04 per person, compared to $3.05 last year. The figures come from an annual statewide pricing survey conducted by Missouri Farm Bureau's Promotion and Education Program on specific grocery store items.

"This survey has been conducted for the past seven years using a predetermined shopping list of traditional items included in the average American Thanksgiving Day meal," said Diane Olson, program director. "Volunteers across Missouri record the prices at their local grocery stores a couple weeks before the flurry of holiday sales. We do not record prices offered with specials in order to get a true average of the cost from year to year."

The menu includes turkey, pre-mixed dressing, peas, sweet potatoes, cranberries, carrot and celery sticks, ready-to-bake rolls with real butter, pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, plus milk and coffee.

"The prevalent difference in prices this year comes from lower dairy and turkey prices. Butter cost 77 cents a pound less this year, milk was 21 cents less, and turkey was four cents a pound lower. On the other hand, prices

for pre-mixed items such as stuffing mix and pumpkin pie filling were higher," said Olson. "Overall, it simply means consumers get a bargain, paying a little more than a penny less per person for their holiday meal."

Olson admits the survey menu is limited compared to the usual Thanksgiving meal, but adds that is intentional.

"Using the same menu year after year allows us to create a real point of comparison," she said. "And when preparing a large meal let's not forget the leftovers, which, if included in

the survey, would reduce the cost even more.

"It is important to remember these prices would be higher, not lower, if not for the efficiency and dedication of America's farmers and ranchers. So, when you are at the dinner table surrounded by family and friends, say a sincere thank you for the food so readily available to us."

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