It will cost slightly more to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table this year.
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 23rd annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 will be $44.61, a $2.35 increase from last year’s average.
The AFBF shopping list includes 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, all in quantities sufficient to serve 10.
The cost of a 16-pound turkey — $19.09, or roughly $1.19 per pound — reflects an increase of 9 cents per pound compared with 2007. That’s the largest contributor to the overall increase 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 AFBF economist.
“Despite that, the components of this classic Thanksgiving dinner cost less compared to 1988, when the effects of inflation are removed,” he said. “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.”
The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. Farm Bureau does not make any statistical claims about the data; it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation.
A total of 179 volunteer shoppers from 38 states participated in this year’s survey. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.