Turkey Day food trending higher in 2008

Shoppers looking to outfit their Thanksgiving table with the traditional holiday trimmings will find themselves spending a bit more at the grocer this year, Farm Bureau’s 23rd annual Thanksgiving Day price survey shows.

The informal survey, conducted by 179 volunteer shoppers in 38 states, showed that the costs of a Thanksgiving Day feast for 10 would ring in at about $44.61—a $2.35 increase from last year’s nationwide average of $42.26.

Menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner include turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings.

“Oil and commodity prices reached record highs earlier this year,” said Texas Farm Bureau President Kenneth Dierschke. “They have since taken a steep dive and are half of what they were. While I’m sure we’ve all felt the welcome relief offered at the gas pumps lately, most of us are still waiting for similar relief in our grocery bills.”

Unfortunately, increased grocery bills have not meant greater returns for farmers, Dierschke said. In fact, current market prices for many staple commodities have actually fallen to less than farmers earned for the same products last year.

Despite the slight cost increases, however, Dierschke noted that the price of food is still unbelievably affordable here in America.

“Even with these higher prices, I’m willing to bet you couldn’t buy a decent deli sandwich for what these costs break down to on a per person basis,” Dierschke said.

The cost of a 16-pound turkey, at $19.09 or roughly $1.19 per pound, reflects an increase of 9 cents per pound, or a total of $1.46 per turkey compared to 2007. This is the largest contributor to the overall increase in the cost of the 2008 Thanksgiving dinner.

The 6 percent increase in national average cost reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the organization’s quarterly marketbasket food surveys.

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