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Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Increases 9% in 2010

November 16, 2010

This year’s Thanksgiving Dinner still $8.64 cheaper than two years ago

As Arizonans sit down at the Thanksgiving table to dig into the traditional feast this year, the turkey dinner with all the trimmings will cost $44.17 for an Arizona family of 10, or around $4.42 per person. This is an increase of $3.70 or about 9 percent over the 2009 Arizona Thanksgiving meal ($40.47) and 70 cents over this year’s American Farm Bureau survey of $43.47.

Without factoring in store coupons or specials, the cost of a 16-pound turkey purchased in Arizona this year was $16.80, or $1.05 cents per pound, which reflects a 7 percent increase in the cost of a turkey over last year. This year’s meal is actually $8.64 cheaper than what shoppers paid two years ago, when the total was $52.81.

The 2010 Arizona Thanksgiving meal cost estimate is the result of the Arizona Farm Bureau’s annual informal Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey of the prices of basic food items found on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

The Arizona Farm Bureau survey shopping list includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray including carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream plus coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. To make a proper comparison, these items are the same food items used in the national Farm Bureau survey for the past two decades.

“Throughout the year we’re fortunate to enjoy a bounty of foods produced in Arizona and across the nation, said Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers, a cotton and alfalfa farmer from Maricopa County. “It’s especially appropriate as we gather at the Thanksgiving table to savor not only food and fellowship, but to take a moment to recognize that this blessing begins with our hard-working farm and ranch families. Arizona agriculture is a $10.3 billion industry and is a major component of the state’s economy.”

Arizona farmers and ranchers produce most of the ingredients in the traditional Thanksgiving meal including dressing (bread, onions and celery), peas, pumpkin and pecans for pies, and several others. Even roses, sometimes used for holiday centerpieces, are grown in Arizona.

“Based on this year’s average meal cost, Arizona residents can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal for around $4.42 per person. That’s worthy of many thanks,” Rogers concluded.

Arizona Farm Bureau encourages expert shoppers and in-store grocery personnel to beat its market basket price. “If a shopper comes in below the $44.17 Farm Bureau price, let us know on Arizona Farm Bureau’s www.fillyourplate.org. List your success on our “Farmer Forum,” says Julie Murphree, director of public relations for Arizona Farm Bureau.

The average price of the remainder of the menu includes: three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.60; a 16-ounce package of frozen green peas, $1.99; one gallon of whole milk, $2.39; a half-pint carton of whipping cream, $1.49; a package of two nine-inch pie shells, $2.85; a 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries, $2.50; a 14-ounce package of cubed stuffing, $3.05; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.27; miscellaneous items like eggs, sugar, flour and coffee, $3.22; one-half pound each of carrots and celery for a relish tray, $1.02; and a 12-ounce package of brown-and-serve rolls, $1.99.

Arizona Farm Bureau comparison over last year

2010                            2009

Turkey, 16 lbs                                   $16.80 ▲                   $15.68

Cube Stuffing, 14 oz.                       $3.05   ▲                   $2.36

Pumpkin Pie Mix, 30 oz.              $3.27   ▲                   $2.75

Pie Shells (2)                                      $2.85   ▲                   $2.48

Sweet Potatoes, 3 lbs                     $3.60   ▼                   $3.63

Brown & Serve Rolls, 12               $1.99   ▲                   $1.93

Frozen Green Peas, 1 lb                $1.99   ▲                   $1.36

Carrots and celery relish tray, l lb       $1.02   ▼                   $1.05

Whole Milk, 1 gallon                       $2.39   ▲                   $1.96

Fresh Cranberriers, 12 oz.           $2.50   ▼                   $2.65

Whipping Cream, ½ pint              $1.49   ▼                   $1.59

*Misc. ingredients                           $3.22   ▲                   $3.03

*Coffee, onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter

Prices of past surveys include: 1986 – $28.74; 1987 – $24.51; 1988 – $26.61; 1989 – $24.70; 1990 – $28.85; 1991 – $25.95; 1992 – $26.39; 1993 – $27.49; 1994 – $28.40; 1995 – $29.64; 1996 – $31.66; 1997 – $31.75; 1998 – $33.09; 1999 – $33.83; 2000 – $32.37; 2001 – $35.04; 2002 – $34.56; 2003 – $36.28; 2004 – $36.04; 2005 – $37.69; 2006 – $39.22; 2007 – $51.14; 2008 – $52.81; and 2009 – 40.47.

The Farm Bureau Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey is unscientific, but serves as a gauge of actual price trends across the state.  This survey is based on shelf price and does not reflect special prices and promotional gimmicks.

Shoppers involved in this year’s survey were asked to identify the best in-store price, excluding promotional coupons and special deals. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

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