The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 28th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.04, a 44-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.48. However, in Minnesota, the cost of the dinner is down only 4 cents.

“The cost of this year’s meal, at less than $5 per serving, remains an excellent value for consumers,” said Bob Stallman, AFBF president and a rice and cattle producer from Texas. “America’s farm and ranch families are honored to produce the food from our nation’s land for family Thanksgiving celebrations,” he said.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

The big ticket item - a 16-pound turkey - came in at $21.76 this year, but averaged $23.79 in Minnesota. That was roughly $1.36 per pound nationally, $1.49 a pound in Minnesota, a decrease of about 3 cents per pound, compared to 2012. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price decrease compared to last year.

“This year we can be thankful that Thanksgiving Dinner, a special meal many of us look forward to all year, will not take a bigger bite out of our wallets,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “Most Americans will pay about the same as last year at the grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings. Slightly higher turkey production for much of the year coupled with an increase in birds in cold storage may be responsible for the moderate price decrease our shoppers reported,” he said.

In addition to the turkey, other items that declined in price included a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.18 ($2.25 – MN); one pound of green peas, $1.54 ($1.60 – MN); a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.67 ($2.54 – MN); fresh cranberries, $2.42 ($2.49 – MN); a half pint of whipping cream, $1.85 ($2.10 – MN); and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.49 ($2.72 – MN).

Items that showed a moderate price increase from last year included three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.36 ($3.69 – MN); one gallon of whole milk, $3.66 ($3.74 – MN); and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.10 ($2.97 – MN).

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. Anderson noted that despite retail price increases during the last year or so, American consumers have enjoyed relatively stable food costs in general over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation.

Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

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