Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Hits a Record High

Food: Whether in a restaurant or at the grocery store, it’s going to cost more to fill your belly next year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects prices to increase about 3 percent next year, whether you eat out or at home. Restaurant costs may go up further thanks to several regulatory and policy trends, including the pushback against minimum wage laws, banks on certain types of packaging and various tax increases.
Robert Linton/iStockphoto

Getting together with friends and family for the holidays may be priceless, but putting food on the table costs money.

The average cost of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people exceeded $50 for the first time since the American Farm Bureau began tracking it in 1986.  The total price of the feast increased 70 cents (or 1.4 percent) to $50.11 from 2014. The average cost of food for the celebration has remained around $49 since 2011.

The most expensive item on the list is a 16-pound turkey, which costs an average of $23.04 this year. That’s up $1.39 from last year, or 6.42 percent, the largest percentage increase of all the grocery items.

The increase is largely due to production issues caused by a bird flu outbreak in the Midwest earlier this year. But turkey prices have been falling in the last week, the AFB said, as retailers aggressively market them for the holidays.

Fears that a pumpkin shortage from wet weather would affect Thanksgiving pies also appear to be overblown. A 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix increased 8 cents this year to $3.20.

Other item prices that went up this year included a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing (up 7 cents), two nine-inch pie shells (up a nickel), and 3 pounds of sweet potatoes (up a penny).

The prices of milk and miscellaneous ingredients experienced the largest year-over-year price declines. The price of whole milk dropped 51 cents, or 13.6 percent, and the price of miscellaneous ingredients, declined 30 cents, or 8.6 percent.

Prices of a half-pint of whipping cream, 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, a tray of carrots and celery, and a pound of green peas collectively fell 17 cents.

While the price of Thanksgiving dinner remains relatively stable, the cost of traveling for the holiday is getting cheaper. Prices for the most popular Thanksgiving flights are down an average of 9 percent this year, and gas prices are at their lowest level in seven years.

Written by Beth Braverman of Fiscal Times

(Source: Fiscal Times)

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