Editor’s Note: The following story replaces an earlier version that inadvertently ran on FOXBusiness.com. The reporter mistakenly sent into the system a press release issued by the American Farm Bureau Federation instead of the story she had prepared on this subject. FOX Business regrets the error.
Thanksgiving dinner is going to be slightly more costly this year, up roughly 1.3%, says the American Farm Bureau Federation [AFBF] in a press release.
And the group says that "despite retail price increases during the last year or so, American consumers have enjoyed relatively stable food costs over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation."
To feed a family of 10, the average cost of 12 items, including turkey, stuffing and cranberries, weighs in at $43.47. That's 56 cents higher versus last year’s average of $42.91, but cheaper by $1.14 versus two years ago, when the total was $44.61, the group said.
“While this year’s meal remains a bargain, at less than $4.35 per person, America’s farmers and ranchers are perhaps most proud of the quality and variety of the food they produce for America’s dinner table,” said AFBF president Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas, in the group's press release.
The AFBF says its 25th annual survey covered these items: turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk.
The group says the 16-pound turkey was actually cheaper this year, at $17.66, or about $1.10 per pound, a drop of about 6 cents per pound compared with 2009.
“Turkey prices are down some this year despite the fact that, according to Agriculture Department estimates, turkey production has been slightly lower in 2010 than in 2009 and supplies of turkey in cold storage are below last year’s level,” said John Anderson, an AFBF economist, in the press release.
This suggests that retailers are being fairly aggressive in featuring turkeys in special sales and promotions, Anderson said in the release, adding that at "$4.35 per person, our traditional Thanksgiving feast is still a better deal than most fast-food value meals, plus it’s a wholesome, home cooked meal.”
Also dropping in price this year, besides turkey: one pound of green peas, $1.44, down 14 cents; and a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.64, down one cent.
Milk went up in price, the group says. A gallon of whole milk increased in price by 38 cents per gallon, to $3.24, although the group says last year’s milk price was at its lowest level since 2001.
The American Farm Bureau Federation says other items that showed a price rise from last year were: a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $2.62, up 17 cents; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.46, up 12 cents; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.70, up 15 cents; three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.19, up 7 cents; a one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery, 77 cents, up 5 cents; a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.12, up 4 cents.
Another of the traditional Thanksgiving items, fresh cranberries, was unchanged from last year, with a 12-ounce package selling for $2.41.
The Bureau says the 1.3% increase in the national average cost reported this year for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the organization’s 2010 quarterly market basket food surveys and the federal government’s Consumer Price Index (available online at http://data.bls.gov/) .
The AFBF says its survey was first conducted in 1986, and says it relies on more than 112 volunteer shoppers from 34 states to complete this year's survey. The Farm Bureau also says its survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.