Friday, November 14, 2008

Food Prices Up

Photo by Phil Thuma

Washington--Thanksgiving dinner will cost more in 2008 based on survey results from the American Farm Bureau. A turkey dinner for 10 with all the trimmings will cost $44.61, that’s up $2.35 from a year ago.

The shopping list included turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, enough to serve a family of 10.

Shoppers this year were asked to identify the best in-store prices, excluding coupons at their local super markets. Price lists from volunteers in 38 states was compiled by the Farm Bureau which in turn calculated prices of miscellaneous items necessary for dinner including eggs and pantry staples.

Based on shoppers’ price information, the Farm Bureau found that the cost of a 16-pound turkey was $19.09 or about $1.19 per pound that's an increase of nine cents per pound over 2007 numbers.

In fact, the cost of turkey is the biggest price hike in the cost of the 2008 Thanksgiving dinner.“Food prices rode the energy price roller coaster up during the first half of 2008, and as the year winds down, energy prices have moderated somewhat but food prices have not come down,” said Jim Sartwelle, an American Farm Bureau economist. “Despite that, the components of this classic Thanksgiving dinner cost less compared to 1988 when the effects of inflation are removed. Even at these slightly higher prices, the cost per person for this special meal remains lower than what Americans pay for most ‘value meals’ at fast-food outlets.”

Sartwelle said despite recent retail price increases, American consumers have enjoyed stable food costs over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation. This year’s average cost of $44.61 is equivalent to $20.65 in 20-year inflation-adjusted dollars. The real dollar cost of the Thanksgiving dinner has declined more than 8 percent since 1988, according to Sartwelle.

The Farm Bureau survey is unscientific, but prices reflect actual trends across the nation.It was first conducted in 1986 when the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for a family of 10 was $28.74.

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