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Cost of Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Up 13 Percent

Monday, November 21, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

The retail cost of menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner, including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings, increased about 13 percent this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

AFBF’s 26th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.20, a $5.73 price increase from last year’s average of $43.47.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread 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. There is also plenty for leftovers.

The biggest contributor to the final total and the item showing that largest price increase compared to last year was the 16-pound turkey, which rang up at $21.57 this year. That was roughly $1.35 per pound, an increase of about 25 cents per pound, or a total of $3.91 per whole turkey, compared to 2010.

The increase in corn demand due to ethanol production has driven corn prices to record levels, putting tremendous pressure on the livestock and poultry industries that traditionally have been major users of corn as feed. Corn prices have roughly tripled since the government in 2006 mandated ethanol be blended into gasoline and the Consumer Price Index for meat and poultry has risen steadily with it.

AMI has been a vocal advocate of a more balanced energy policy that would include federal energy policies that move beyond corn-based ethanol and don't pit food, feed and fuel needs against each other.

To sign a petition supporting for a balanced energy policy, go to http://www.cornforfoodnotfuel.com/.

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