Americans can be grateful for lower prices this Thanksgiving, Farm Bureau says

By Bill Tomson

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2016 - Americans have one more thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving - their holiday meal will be less expensive than a year ago.

That's according to an annual  report from the American Farm Bureau Federation that shows the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people this year will be $49.87, a 24-cent decrease from 2015.

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"Consumers will pay less than $5 per person for a classic Thanksgiving dinner this year," said John Newton, AFBF's director of market intelligence. "We have seen farm prices for many foods - including turkeys - fall from the higher levels of recent years. This translates into lower retail prices for a number of items as we prepare for Thanksgiving and confirms that U.S. consumers benefit from an abundant, high-quality and affordable food supply."

The farm bureau's survey - tracking the prices of turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, butter, peas, cranberries, vegetable trays, pumpkin pies, whipped cream, coffee and milk - aligns with the latest data from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the report, consumers saw prices for food prepared at home drop 0.2 percent in October from the previous month, the sixth straight monthly decline. Prices for meat, seafood and eggs fell for the 14th straight month.

Over the last 12 months, the food-at-home index has declined 2.3 percent, the largest 12-month decline since December 2009,” the report said. “As in September, all six major grocery store food group indexes declined over the last year.”

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The CPI report didn't delve into dairy and pumpkin pies, but the Farm Bureau noted that prices for those products are down.

"Due to a significant expansion in global milk production, prices fell to the lowest levels since 2009, leading to lower retail milk and dairy product prices,” the Farm Bureau's Newton said. “Additionally, this year's pumpkin prices are slightly lower following the production decline and higher prices seen in 2015."

The average cost of a gallon of milk this year is $3.17, according to AFBF's calculations. That's down from $3.25 in 2015. Consumers should enjoy the lower dairy prices now, because USDA and industry economists expect domestic and international demand to rise next year, pushing up prices by the fall of 2017.

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