Average cost of a dinner for 10 is $4.16 higher than last year
SIKESTON -- Gasoline pumps aren't the only places where prices are rising these days. Many cooks planning their Thanksgiving meals are also noticing increased costs in the grocery store aisles. '
"Everybody's feeling the crunch," said Marlene Stevens, who organizes the annual Thanksgiving Day community dinner in Sikeston, which feeds about 600 people.
Menu items for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner will cost more this year but remain affordable, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
According to the Farm Bureau's 22nd annual informal survey of prices of basic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table, the average cost for this year's dinner for 10 is $42.26, a $4.16 price increase from last year's average of $38.10.
The AFBF shopping list includes turkey, 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.
Although Stevens will purchase the majority of the food for the dinner this week, she has purchased some items and knows from her personal grocery shopping experience that some foods cost more this year than in the past.
"I'm noticing my gift cards aren't going as far. I have noticed an increase every year, but not as drastically as this year," Stevens said.
Stevens said she's noticed a hike in the price of meat and milk.
"I think it has a lot to do with the gas prices," Stevens said. "Everything is delivered by a truck that has to use gas."
Stevens' grocery list for the Thursday dinner includes 25 dozen of eggs, 18 gallons of milk, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes and butter.
Tanner Street Church of God in Sikeston hosted its 20th annual Senior Citizen Appreciation Thanksgiving Dinner Sunday. About 200 people are served the traditional Thanksgiving dinner each year.
Linda Witzel, who handles purchasing the groceries for church's dinner, said she's also noticed an increase in food items used to prepare a Thanksgiving meal, which includes turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and giblet gravy.
"I've noticed potatoes have really gone up. They're like a dollar more for a 10-pound bag this year than last year," Witzel said.
The cost of pie crusts is also the on the rise, Witzel said.
"You could get two for 99 cents, and now they're $1.38," Witzel said.
According to the AFBF survey, the cost of a 16-pound turkey, at $17.63 or roughly $1.10 per pound, reflects an increase of 12 cents per pound compared to 2006.
This is the largest contributor to the overall increase in the cost of this year's Thanksgiving dinner.
"The inventory of birds in cold storage is relatively small this year. This has helped drive up the average retail turkey prices," said Jim Sartwelle, an AFBF economist. "The tremendous increase in energy costs for transportation and processing over the past year also is key factor behind higher retail prices grocery store."
Other items showing a price increase this year included: a gallon of whole milk, $3.88; a 30-oz. can of pumpkin for pie mix, $2.13; three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.08; two 9-inch pie shells, $2.08; a 12-oz. package of brown-n-serve rolls, $1.89; a half-pint of whipping cream, $1.56; and 12-oz package of fresh cranberries, $2.20.
A combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal, such as onions, eggs, flour, evaporated milk and butter) increased 66 cents to $3.29.
"All of the diary products included in the survey increased significantly in price over the past year due to skyrocketing world demand," Sartwelle said.
Items that decreased slightly in price this year were: a 14-ounce package of cube stuffing, $2.40; and a relish tray of carrots and celery, 66 cents. A pound of green peas stayed the same in price at $1.46.
Sartwelle said on average, American consumers have enjoyed stable food costs over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation. The inflation-
adjusted cost of a Thanksgiving turkey dinner has remained around $20 for the past 17 years.
"Consumers can enjoy a wholesome, home-cooked turkey dinner for just over $4 per person -- less than a typical fast food meal. That's an amazing deal, any way you slice, it."