November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Meal Will Cost More This Year

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - For the ninth year Missouri Farm Bureau volunteers hit the grocery store aisles for the most recent price survey on the cost of a Thanksgiving meal. This compares prices on 18 items commonly found at a Thanksgiving Day meal for 10 people. The 2005 survey found prices up in the state compared to last year by $2.26, or 22 cents per person.

It is true consumers paid more than last year. In light of the high energy costs farmers and ranchers face, as well as the disastrous weather in some regions of the country, it is amazing the increase is only moderate, said Diane Olson, Missouri Farm Bureaus director of promotion and education programs.

Prices were gathered based on a specific grocery list given to each volunteer: a 16-pound turkey; a 14-ounce package of stuffing mix; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix; a package of two frozen pie shells; three pounds of sweet potatoes; a 12-count package of brown and serve rolls; a 1-pound package of frozen peas; a half-pound of fresh carrots and celery; one gallon of whole milk; a 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries; four eggs; one-half pound each of butter and onions; one-half cup each of coffee and sugar; one-fourth cup of flour; a half-pint whipping cream and a can of evaporated milk.

Totaling up the bill, the cost per person this year equals $3.45 per person, an increase over last years cost of $3.21.

Compared to 2004, turkey prices were up 7 cents per pound this year with the average cost at $0.86 compared to last years price of $0.79. The prices across the state ranged from $0.68 to $1.29 per pound. Major price fluctuations impacting calculations occurred in coffee, up 56 cents for a cost of $2.96 for thirteen ounces and sugar up 22 cents on a 4-lb. bag to $1.72. Among those items priced less than last year, cranberries cost $1.86 per pound or 12 cents less.

Compared to national price averages, Missourians usually find these items less expensive at local grocery stores. A national survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau will be released Nov. 18. Last year, the national average price was $3.49 higher for 10 people than Missouris total.

Olson said the selected items were collected the second week of November to avoid grocery store holiday sales that usually occur the week of Thanksgiving. To provide an accurate cost comparison, many of the items are prepared commercially.

Even in tough years our food remains very affordable, said Olson. At this time of year, let us give a special thanks to our agricultural producers, but especially keep those touched by this years adverse weather in your thoughts.

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