Thanksgiving Dinner's Pricetag Rises 13 Percent This Year

Thanksgiving Dinner's Pricetag Rises 13 Percent This YearNothing is sacred, it seems, when it comes to the whims of the global economy.

The American Farm Bureau Federation announced in a statement on Thursday that the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner -- turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings -- will increase about 13% this year, the biggest jump since 1990.

This figure is the result of the group's twenty-sixth annual informal price survey of classic Thanksgiving dinner menu items. The average cost of a 2011 Thanksgiving dinner for 10 will be $49.20, the group projects -- a $5.73 increase from last year's average.

Still, AFBF President Bob Stallman, a Texas rice and cattle farmer, insists that Thanksgiving is both noble and cheap. "The cost of this year's meal remains a bargain," he said, "at just under $5 per person." Praising "the quality and variety of food produced for our dinner tables on America's diverse farms and ranches," Stallman called it "an honor for our farm and ranch families to produce the food from our nation's land for family Thanksgiving celebrations."

Thanksgiving may be a quintessentially American celebration, but the making of the meal is far from insulted from global pricing pressures. A whole turkey, the biggest cost contributor to the feast, showed the largest price increase from 2010: 4% more for a 16-pound bird, or $21.57. According to AFBF senior economist John Anderson, "Turkey prices are higher this year primarily due to strong consumer demand both here in the U.S. and globally."

As for the other items spilling out of the cornucopia, their price increases result from rising commodity costs across the board, which impact the bottom lines of food preparers, grocers, and ultimately, shoppers.

As Anderson explained, "The era of grocers holding the line on retail food cost increases is basically over. Retailers are being more aggressive about passing on higher costs for shipping, processing and storing food to consumers, although turkeys may still be featured in special sales and promotions close to Thanksgiving."

Backing up this assertion, the AFBF produced data showing increases in the prices of everything on their list except miscellaneous ingredients (onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter) and a one-pound relish tray (carrots and celery). A gallon of whole milk, for example, went up by 42 cents, or 13%, to $3.66.

"Demand for U.S. dairy products has been strong throughout the year and continues to influence retail prices, as demand for higher-quality food products grows globally," Anderson said.

Overall, though, U.S. consumers don't have much to complain about, according to Anderson. Food costs have been relatively stable, the past year notwithstanding. "The worst of the price inflation may be ending," he told Bloomberg's Jeff Wilson, "and we should see moderation in 2012." But, as Wilson notes, "At a time when global food prices tracked by the United Nations fell 9.1% from a record in February, U.S. consumers are paying record prices." The rising price of energy also increases the cost of eating at home, which was up 6.3% in September from a year earlier.

The Farm Bureau, a nonprofit organization that works to promote agricultural profitability and rural community life, deployed 141 volunteer shoppers from 35 states to carry out this year's survey. The menu has been fixed since the survey's inception in 1986, in order to allow for consistent price comparisons. Designated shoppers are instructed to seek out the best prices without using coupons or special deals.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
The Texas Cowboy

As long as the Obama administration makes moves like the one they did yesterday everything is going to be high, Canada wants to construct a hugh pipeline from the far north in Canada though the USA to the refineries on the Gulf coast, this would help us cut back on the amount oil we buy from overseas, it would also create thousands of permanent jobs ( in the article that I read they talked about 20,000 permanent jobs) but Obama & his advisers have desided to put off any decision until after the 2012 elections, just like Obama put a moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico & has to date not lifted that moratorium letting the oil riggs start to drill again & this has put 87,000 people out of work...the Gov. talks about reforming Medicare & Social Security, if the Gov. would stop the fraud thats going on in Medicare then Medicare wouldn't be going broke & if the Congress would stop taking our money out of the Social Security Trust Fund & putting it in the general fund, Social Security wouldn't be going broke, are they going to do this (hell No !) the Gov. will allow the fraud to continue in Medicare, the Gov. says just cut our benefits in the hopes that if they cut deep enough most of us will die for as Congress not taking our money out of the Social Security Trust Fund just isn't going to happen & eventually it will go broke but I guess the Gov. figures that cutting deep benefits out of Medicare & causing our early deaths that we won't need a Social Security check any way...our beloved America is being torn apart by the Wall Street crooks & the crooks in Washington, so if you think your food, gasoline & Commodies are high now, you ain't seen nothing at what the cost are going to get to be.....just my dimes worth......

November 12 2011 at 3:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why prices are up: First off, the Senate is trying to pass Resolutions of Disapproval to fight off obama's Executive Orders where he usurps powers he is not entitled to under the Constitution. obama has instructed the EPA to implement a lot of regulations that are forcing up prices on American producers. And, while he allows the EPA to enforce restrictions on OUR truckers, he recently opened up our country to Mexican trucks to drive all over the U.S. with no restrictions on the trucks. The excuse? Mexican trucks are not equipped with pollution control devices. So that makes it okay? How are American truckers supposed to compete with that? obama = hypocrite emeritus.

November 12 2011 at 2:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Thanks to Obama and you morons who voted for him! During his campain, he said under his plan energy rates would NECESSARILLY skyrocket! And they did. Gas was $1.70/gal when he took office and ever since, gas has remained near $4/gal! Since EVERYTHING is transported, thanks Obama for everything costing us more! EVERYTHING!!!!!

November 12 2011 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ron's comment

Are you high?????????????????? You cant just make up #'s. Gas was almost $5 when he took office and is now $3.40 where I live. And none of your statement is TRUE ... Unfortunately, people are allowed to speak on hear with out any education upon the subjects they speak of ... and just spew Hatred.... That's why they should just do away with these forums. People should just go on their social media sites and speak their stupidity to their friends! Oh, they probably don't have any friends. This is Why mine tell me not to read this JUNK, You are all just a bunch of social rejects with no INTELLIGENCE OR BACK BONE. And please Stop using the American Flag as your screen saver .... My Family has been living in this Country since 1624 and they are turning in their graves at your Backwoods Patriotism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 12 2011 at 3:37 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Our own government, and I use that term losely, keeps telling us inflation is under control. For people who dont know that food and energy are not included in that calculation I guess it isnt going up. But for the real world,,going to hit us hard soon. Get ready for the Obama bread lines, he wants everyone poor except the elites who can tell us what to do from cradle to grave. And all its will cost you is your freedom.

November 12 2011 at 12:33 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Time to start eating the rich...

November 12 2011 at 12:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

All Headed to a Depression ,The writeing is on the Wall. Get ready for the soup Lines.

November 12 2011 at 11:53 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

And you wonder why all the occupations going on around the world... Things such as these pure greed.

November 12 2011 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

13%,, well you wanna know why you don't raise the taxes. Wonder how much it cost these farmers just to grow the food on your Thanksgiving table, in relationship to your today's salary and yesterdays salary.

November 12 2011 at 10:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


November 12 2011 at 10:58 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SEMPER FI!'s comment

Yeah, you're that same trollie from Huff Post....

November 12 2011 at 12:01 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Hey , don;t forget to add the increased costs of travel. We decided to drive to New York from maryland because the flight have gotten STUPID in costs. The car rentals for 4 days in a SUB COMPACT is over $600.00 why, BECAUSE THEY CAN. The normal round trip from Mryland to Long island is $125.00 but at Thanksgiving it's $486 per person, plus the car plau the hotel rates go up 15% that makes it ridicuous to fly any this is the last trip for Thanksgiving to see my family.

November 12 2011 at 10:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to docbobvet's comment

I hear ya. When I visit my daughter in VA from CT I drive. I travel with at least one other relative and we share expenses. I/we also stay with her, so it's not too bad.

November 12 2011 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply