WILLMAR -- The cost of putting the classic Thanksgiving dinner on the table for 10 people increased 13 percent this year, according to the annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
In a news release issued this week, the federation shows the cost of the holiday feast for 10 people, plus plenty of leftovers, is $49.20, an increase of $5.73 more expensive than last year's cost of $43.47.
The annual survey, conducted by 141 volunteer shoppers in 35 states, includes prices for turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk plus miscellaneous items like flour, sugar, onions and butter necessary to prepare the meal.
Higher turkey prices are reflected in the cost of the 16-pound bird, $21.57 or $1.35 per pound this year. That is which is 25 cents a pound more than in 2010, about $3.90 total more than last year. The turkey is the biggest contributor to the total cost and showed the largest price increase.
The Farm Bureau news release notes that grocers are no longer absorbing the higher costs of food, but rather are passing the increasing costs of shipping, processing and storage on to consumers.
"The era of grocers holding the line on retail food cost increases is basically over," said John Anderson, senior economist for Farm Bureau.
"Although we'll pay a bit more this year, on a per-person basis, our traditional Thanksgiving feast remains a better value than most fast-food value meals, plus it's a wholesome, home-cooked meal," Anderson said.
Other items in the meal that increased in cost include a gallon of whole milk, 42 cents higher at $3.66; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, up 41 cents at $3.03; a half-pint of whipping cream, up 26 cents at $1.96; a pound of green peas, up 24 cents at $1.68; and a 14-ounce package of bread stuffing, up 24 cents at $2.88.
Farm Bureau has conducted the informal survey of the cost of typical Thanksgiving meal items for 26 years. In the first year of the survey, 1986, the cost of the dinner was $28.74. Five years ago in 2006, the cost was $38.10.