Farm Bureau, NFU, NYT have their own turkey meal messages
The cost of the meal
Farm Bureau’s 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87.
The big ticket item — a 16-pound turkey — came in at $22.38 this year. That’s roughly $1.40 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016.
“For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined,” Farm Bureau Director of Market Intelligence John Newton said. “The cost of the dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011.”
Consumers continue to see lower retail turkey prices due to continued large inventory in cold storage, which is up almost double digits from last year, Newton explained.
Other foods showing the largest decreases this year were a gallon of milk, $2.99; a dozen rolls, $2.26; two 9-inch pie shells, $2.45; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.52; a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.53; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $2.72.
Items that increased modestly in price were: a half-pint of whipping cream, $2.08; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.81; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.21; a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, $2.43; and a 1-pound veggie tray, 74 cents.
“Whole whipping cream is up about 4 percent in price, due to increased consumer demand for full-fat dairy products,” Newton said.
A total of 141 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 39 states for this year’s survey, Farm Bureau said.
The farmer’s share
National Farmers Union, meanwhile, emphasized how little of that Thanksgiving food dollar ends up in farmers’ pockets.
On average, farmers receive 17.4 cents of every food dollar consumers spend, but for the 15 items NFU tracks for the Thanksgiving version, farmers received just 11.4 cents of the retail food dollar, the organization said in a news release.
NFU calculated what it calls the “farmer’s share” using Agriculture Department, Safeway and Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias data.
Turkey growers receive just 5 cents per pound retailing at $1.69. Wheat farmers averaged 6 cents on 12 dinner rolls that retail for $3.49. And dairy producers received $1.47 from a $4.49 gallon of fat free milk, NFU said.
“This holiday season, it’s important for us to take time to recognize and thank the family farmers and ranchers who provide our Thanksgiving meals,” said Rob Larew, NFU’s senior vice president for public policy and communications.
“If you don’t live on a farm or work in agriculture, you probably don’t realize the tremendous difference between the price you pay for food at the grocery store and the prices farmers end up receiving for these products.
“While consumer holiday food costs have declined recently, incomes for American farm and ranch families have dropped precipitously. We’re in the midst of the worst farm economic downturn in 30-40 years, and we’re hopeful these numbers can help illustrate that fact to the general public.”
The science of it all
Meanwhile, The New York Times explained the biology, chemistry and physics of the Thanksgiving meal.
The article notes that turkeys were domesticated in Mexico 1,500 years ago and says that too many yams, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, biscuits and a second piece of pie — not turkey —are to blame for sleepiness after dinner. F
–The Hagstrom Report
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