Thanksgiving food prices lowest in six years

AP Photo
AP Photo

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Thanksgiving is only a week away and some Hoosier cooks may be adding more items to their holiday menu. Grocery store food prices are significantly lower than last year, which means families can enjoy a low-cost turkey dinner.

Reasons for the low prices include warm weather, low gas prices and a great harvest season.

Erin McDuffee is a Lafayette resident. She said she’s already looking forward to gobbling up her Thanksgiving feast. When it comes to picking her favorite part of the meal, she said it’s a tough one.

“I think I’m going to go with the turkey because we don’t have it a lot,” she said.

Lucky for McDuffee and other grocery shoppers, food prices are low. This is the first time in six years a traditional Thanksgiving dinner cost has been this inexpensive.

Purdue agriculture economist Chris Hurt said, “Grocery store prices, on average, across the country are down 2 to 3 percent from where we were a year ago this Thanksgiving time.”

According to Indiana Farm Bureau, the average price for the Thanksgiving meal this year is $46.81. That price is down more than $2.00 from last year.

Hurt said there’s a 6 percent reduction in meat products this year compared to last.

“I feel like I’ve seen the prices, and it’s so much easier to get what you need,” said McDuffe. “Maybe, get a little more.”

The meal includes a turkey, ingredients for stuffing, pie and other treats.

Hurt said a reason for the low turkey prices is production is up this year, rebounding from the Avian flu crisis.

“Our prices of turkey a year ago, as well as eggs a year ago – we saw some extreme high prices on eggs. Now, those diseases were able to be brought under control,” Hurt said.

He said the trend of low food prices should last until Christmas.

Below is the breakdown of costs from the Indiana Farm Bureau.

2015 2016 Change
Turkey (16 lb.) $25.12 $22.56 -$2.56
Stuffing (14 oz. package) $2.54 $2.44 -$0.10
Pumpkin pie filling mix (30 oz. can) $3.19 $2.73 -$0.46
Pie shell, 9 in. (2 per package) $2.40 $2.45 $0.05
Sweet potatoes (3 lb.) $3.21 $3.12 -$0.09
Rolls (12 oz./12 per package) $2.09 $2.14 $0.05
Peas (16 oz. package) $1.07 $1.64 $0.57
Relish tray (1 lb. mixed carrots, celery) $0.80 $0.69 -$0.11
Whole milk (gal.) $2.69 $2.19 -$0.50
Cranberries (fresh, 12 oz. package) $2.09 $2.16 $0.07
Whipping cream (½ pint) $1.95 $1.88 -$0.07
Misc. ingredients (coffee, plus items necessary to prepare the meal, such as butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) $3.18 $2.81 -$0.37
TOTAL $50.33 $46.81 -$3.52