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Average cost of Thanksgiving dinner hits lowest level since 2010, economist says

A survey conducted by a national farm group found that the average price of a Thanksgiving dinner has dropped by 4% over last year, a bit of good news for the many local families feeling the economic impact of COVID-19 this holiday season.

This year, the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people was calculated at $46.90 – $2 less than last year’s calculation – or just under $5 per person, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Thanksgiving dinner survey.

“There was an expectation that the prices would have gone up, as we saw last spring,” Illinois Farm Bureau Associate Director of Food Systems Development Raghela Scavuzzo said in a recent press release.

“I’m glad to see the price decreases, especially for those who are struggling this holiday season due to the impacts of the pandemic.”

The price of whole turkeys is also down from last year at an average of $19.39 for a 16-pound turkey, according to an article on the survey posted to the American Farm Bureau’s website. This represents a 7% drop in price, the cheapest that this Thanksgiving staple has been since 2010.

The average prices of whipping cream and sweet potatoes also declined this year, while dinner rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pumpkin pie mix increased slightly.

The American Farm Bureau’s Thanksgiving dinner survey is conducted using the pricing data of 230 volunteer shoppers from all 50 states, according to the article. Shoppers were encouraged to look for the best possible prices, but were not able to make use of special coupons or deals.

The shopping list used in the survey consists of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk, according to the article. Shoppers are instructed to purchase quantities suitable to feed 10 people with enough for leftovers.

“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” the farm bureau’s chief economist John Newton said in the Illinois Farm Bureau news release. “Turkeys – and other staples of the traditional Thanksgiving meal – are currently in ample supply at grocery stores in most areas of the country.”

In the spring, the start of the pandemic disrupted food industry supply chains across the country and across the world, but farmers and the industry have adapted to meet these changes, according to the release.

“Even in the throes of a pandemic, life goes on; farms continue to produce and we continue to eat,” Illinois Farm Bureau Consumer Engagement Manager Gracie Weinzierl said in the release. “While the supply chain surely does not look the same as it did a year ago, we’ve figured out how to adapt and make sure that consumers have steady access to food.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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