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Turkey dinner gobbles up more cash

November 14, 2008|Jerry Hirsch | Hirsch is a Times staff writer.

Add Thanksgiving dinner to the nation's economic woes. The price of that classic turkey dinner, with stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie, will cost you more this year, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported Thursday.

The farm trade group's informal survey pegged the average cost of this year's feast for 10 at $44.61, up $2.35, or 5.6%, from last year.

The cost of a 16-pound turkey, at $19.09, or about $1.19 a pound, reflects an increase of $1.46 per bird, or 9 cents a pound, the group said. Turkey makes up the largest increase in the cost of Thanksgiving dinner this year.

"Food prices rode the energy price roller coaster up during the first half of 2008, and as the year winds down, energy prices have moderated somewhat but food prices have not come down," said Jim Sartwelle, an economist for the group.

Still, adjusted for inflation, Thanksgiving dinner is a better deal today than it was in 1988, Sartwelle said.

And the cost of Thanksgiving per person remains less than what Americans pay for most "value meals" at fast-food outlets, he said.

The survey looks at prices for turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, as well as coffee and milk.

Other items showing a price increase included dinner rolls, cranberries, canned pumping pie mix, pie shells, cubed bread stuffing, peas, sweet potatoes and whipping cream.

Prices for coffee, milk, onions, eggs, sugar, flour and butter have dropped since last year.


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