What is in this article?:
- Thanksgiving dinner just got more expensive
- Why the increase?
- Looking at overall food price inflation, consumers are probably going to be paying about 5 percent to 6 percent more for Thanksgiving dinner than last year, which is an above-average increase in food costs.
Americans talking turkey this Thanksgiving might say some not-so-grateful words about the price.
Although there should be adequate supplies of the holiday gobbler, wholesale prices per pound are expected to range between $1.07 and $1.11 - up 3-7 cents a pound from last year, said Purdue University agricultural economist Corinne Alexander. The higher price reflects a general increase in food prices this year, she said.
"Looking at overall food price inflation, consumers are probably going to be paying about 5-6 percent more for Thanksgiving dinner than last year, which is an above-average increase in food costs," Alexander said. "We consider normal food price inflation at somewhere around 2.5 percent."
The actual price consumers pay for turkey this Thanksgiving will depend on the choices they make: whole bird vs. turkey parts, frozen vs. fresh, conventionally vs. organically raised, brand name vs. off-brand products and the story where they buy the turkey, Alexander said.
Supermarkets often price turkey as a loss leader in order to attract customers to their stores to buy everything else they need for the Thanksgiving meal, she said. Retail turkey prices usually fall from August to December as a result of increasing supplies and special pricing.
Other Thanksgiving staples are a mixed bag of higher and lower prices. Sweet potatoes are abundant, with projected prices 6 percent lower than last Thanksgiving. White potatoes, on the other hand, are being harvested now, and prices are 20 percent higher than one year ago, Alexander said.
"If the weather cooperates and the growers in the West are able to harvest the white potatoes, we may see those prices come down between now and Thanksgiving," she said.
The nation's cranberry crop is expected to be 10 percent bigger this year - the second largest production on record. Prices are likely to remain about what they were in 2010 because of strong market demand, Alexander said.
Although Halloween pumpkins cost more this fall because of crop problems, there are ample supplies of canned pumpkin for pie, and prices should be stable, she said.