The Price Of Thanksgiving Just Went Up

Happy holidays!

Forbes: In a Nov. 13 survey conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based American Farm Bureau Federation (a non-governmental, voluntary organisation governed by and representing farm and ranch families), the average cost of a basic Thanksgiving dinner for 10 this year–not including travel, extra food or alcohol–will increase by $2.35 to $44.61, from $42.26 in 2007.

That’s a 5.6% jump, which may not sound like a lot. But consider this: From 2005 to 2006, the increase was just 3.6%; from 2006 to 2007 it was only 3.5%.

…Why are costs rising? Often simply because they can, unfortunately. In down economic times we need food more than we need new clothes, electronics or even cars. Unless inflation skyrockets, there’s little that will stop someone from buying a loaf of bread. When basics become essentials, prices go up. In the most recent Consumer Price Index, released by Bureau of labour Statistics on Oct. 16, overall prices in the U.S. are 4.9% higher than in September 2007.

The breakdown:

  • The turkey has the biggest price jump–from $17.63 for a 16-pound bird in 2007 to $19.09 in 2008. That hike can be partially attributed to the high cost of feed. On Nov. 11, the USDA forecast that corn delivery in December would decrease by 12.02 billion bushels, a projection of 60 million bushels less than expected by analysts. For meat companies, a lighter harvest means a higher cost per barrel of corn, which results in higher feed costs. That expense is passed on to the consumer.
  • Fresh cranberries: from $2.20 for 16 ounces in 2007 to $2.46.
  • …sweet potatoes : up  four cents for every three pounds.
  • Decrease? a gallon of milk — down 10 cents to $3.78, while the “miscellaneous ingredients” category–which includes bulk items like coffee, onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter–decreased by 60 cents to $2.69. Both store-bought milk and ingredients made from milk have benefited from an overall decline in dairy prices, due to the weakness in global demand.

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