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Little change in cost of Thanksgiving dinners

Turkeys will cost 4 cents more per pound, mostly because of the summer drought, a price survey finds. But the prices of milk, cranberries and pie mix have fallen since 2011.

November 09, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

Add up the price of turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin pie, and Thanksgiving dinner will cost consumers more this year — but not by much.

Households will shell out, on average, $49.48 for a party of 10, or 28 cents more than last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. That's less than a 1% increase over last year and still less than $5 a person.

Consider last Thanksgiving, when the cost of dinner soared 13% in the largest hike since 1990. The price survey, which has been conducted every year since the meal cost $28.74 in 1986, has shown increases since 2008.

This year, much of the boost comes from the rising price of turkey. A 16-pound gobbler costs $22.23 — up 4 cents a pound to $1.39 a pound. Poultry producers have spent recent months fretting that the scorching summer drought would thin out the size and numbers of their birds, inflating prices.

Most other items on the farm federation's list cost the same or less this year. And prices for whipping cream, whole milk, fresh cranberries and pumpkin pie mix have all declined since 2011.

For those who can't be bothered making Thanksgiving dinner from scratch, the federation notes, many supermarkets and restaurants offer pre-made meals for $50 to $75.

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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