Thanksgiving meal cost up slightly from 2014

Thanksgiving meal cost up slightly from 2014

For the fourth year in a row, costs for a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 people have increased on items such as pumpkin pie mix, pie shells, rolls and turkey, according to a supermarket survey of Baton Rouge retailers conducted by LSU AgCenter area nutrition agent Quincy Cheek. The survey was conducted Nov. 9-13.

This year the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national Thanksgiving meal survey came in at $50.11, with turkey having the largest increase of items surveyed. The total is up 70 cents from last year.

The LSU AgCenter Baton Rouge survey came in a few cents less at $49.81.

Kurt Guidry, LSU AgCenter economist, said the impact of the avian influenza outbreak this summer curtailed turkey production, which led to the price increase. The average wholesale price, $1.36 per pound, is 9 percent higher than 2014 prices, but the retail prices have not seen as significant of an increase. In addition, Guidry said, the U. S. Department of Agriculture projects a less than 1 percent increase in fruit and vegetable prices for 2015.

The food item with the most notable decrease in both the Farm Bureau and LSU AgCenter surveys is milk, which is down about 50 cents from last year.

“The LSU AgCenter and Farm Bureau evaluations took into account the lowest possible prices without consideration of special promotional coupons or purchase deals that many retail grocers offer during the holiday season,” Cheek said.

Last year in Louisiana, the average meal for 10 people cost $48.50.

If you plan to deep fry your turkey, Cheek said to add in another $28.88 to $43.49 depending from which retailer you purchase 3 gallons of peanut oil. This oil can be reused.

The American Farm Bureau Federation began surveying the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 back in 1986 when the cost was only $28.74. The lowest average cost they recorded since then was in 1987 when the figure dropped to $24.51.

Cheek noted that as families sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, chances are they won’t be thinking of the amount of money spent on the food.

“Loved ones and friends and quality time spent with them will most likely be the focus of the holiday for the majority of us, but it doesn’t hurt to hunt for a good deal on the food you serve,” she said.

Here are a few tips Cheek offers for savvy shopping this holiday season:

  • Design your menu around a set budget (know exactly how much you can afford to spend) and seasonal items on-sale at the grocery store.
  • Always use a list. Develop your grocery list based on the layout of the retail store to save time and money.
  • Minimize the number of trips you make to the grocery store. Try to get everything you need in one trip.
  • Don’t shop on an empty stomach.
  • Shop alone to avoid distractions. Focus on what is on your list.
  • Generic and store brands can be much more economical than name brand products.
  • Only use coupons for products and quantities of products you usually buy and use.
  • Take note that the items placed at eye level are often the higher price point items and brands.
  • Check unit pricing to determine cost per serving.
  • Take advantage of in-store promotions and specials. Be sure to scan the sales papers and fliers before making your grocery list so that you know which items are being offered at a reduced price.

Contact Tobie Blanchard at 225-578-5649 or tblanchard@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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