November 22, 2007

Cost of Thanksgiving Feast Higher in 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, the Missouri Farm Bureau performed its annual survey of the average cost for a Thanksgiving feast. Based on food for 10 people, the statewide average cost is $38.44, or $3.84 per serving.

That is higher, an increase of 42 cents per serving, said Diane Olson, director of promotion and education for the Missouri Farm Bureau. Even when food prices increase, the affordability of food in America never ceases to amaze me.

Olson said Farm Bureau members across the state visited their local grocery stores between October 30 and November 6 to collect prices for the items associated with a Thanksgiving feast. While this is earlier than most people shop to stock up for Thanksgiving, the dates are intentionally early.

We try to gather our prices early in order to avoid the multitude of sales used by grocery stores to lure shoppers, Olson said. For most of us the cost of the feast is actually less because we fully intend to take advantage of grocery store discounts, such as a free turkey with a large purchase.

The menu includes basics for Thanksgiving: a 16-pound turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, carrot and celery sticks, peas, rolls and two pumpkin pies with whipped cream. Beverages were coffee and a gallon of milk.

Sugar and celery were the only items on the menu to drop in price. Turkey averaged nine cents a pound higher this year at 98 cents a pound; milk was up 98 cents a gallon; a half pint of whipping cream increased 30 cents from last Thanksgiving; and a pound of butter increased six cents a pound.

We also saw an increase of 46 cents a dozen for eggs and 12 cents for a 12-ounce package of cranberries over last years feast, Olson said. She attributed much of the increase in the cost of the Thanksgiving meal to increased energy costs in all facets of food production.

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