Folks will have to dig a little deeper in their pockets to put a turkey and all the trimmings on the table this Thanksgiving, according to a recently released price survey.
The survey, released by the American Farm Bureau Federation, indicates the average cost of a Thanksgiving feast for 10 people will be $49.20 this year, which is $5.73 more than last year.
Still, Newport Township resident Pam Handschumaker, who is expecting about 25 people for Thanksgiving dinner, doesn't plan to cut back.
ASHLEY RITTENHOUSE The Marietta Times
Peggy Vess, right, places a price label on a turkey at Warren’s IGA in Marietta Monday as Gloria Ritchie holds the bird steady. According to an American Farm Bureau Federation survey, the Thanksgiving meal item that has shown the largest price increase from last year is a whole turkey, but several other Thanksgiving meal staples have also risen in price.
In fact, she said she enjoys celebrating Thanksgiving by preparing a big meal for her loved ones.
"It's something you should be thankful for," she said. "Thanksgiving is forgotten about anymore - they go straight to Christmas."
Handschumaker noted that although she has already picked up a turkey, there are a few items she actually won't have to go out and buy.
Cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people:
- 16-pound turkey: $21.57.
- 1 gallon whole milk: $3.66.
- 30-ounce pumpkin pie mix: $3.03.
- Half pint of whipping cream: $1.96.
- 14 ounces cubed stuffing: $2.88.
- One pound green peas: $1.68.
- 12 rolls: $2.30.
- Three pounds sweet potatoes: $3.26.
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries: $2.48.
- Two pie shells: $2.52.
- Miscellaneous ingredients (sugar, flour, eggs, etc.): $3.10.
- One pound relish tray (carrots and celery): 76 cents.
Total is $49.20, which is $5.73 higher than last year.
Source: American Farm Bureau Federation, www.fb.org.
"We garden a lot (so) we already have potatoes, green beans and corn," she said. "Just getting it ready, that's the challenging part."
The American Farm Bureau Federation survey was first conducted in 1986, when the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 was $28.74. Between 2009 and 2010, the cost increased by only 56 cents.
Bucky Lee, manager of the Food 4 Less in Marietta, acknowledged that he has seen a jump in the price of some Thanksgiving staples.
"We have seen an increase in the staples (like) the flour and sugar (and) the main ingredients for the turkey may be up a little bit over last year," he said. "Overall, due to the cost of the raw product plus transportation, we're going to see a little increase this year."
Lee added that Butterball turkeys, which are normally $1.50 a pound, will be on sale at the store for 88 cents a pound this week.
"Canned vegetables, yams, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, it'll all be on sale," he noted.
The farm bureau federation's survey found that turkey is about $1.35 per pound this year, which adds up to $21.60 for a 16-pound turkey. That is an increase of about 25 cents per pound, or a total of $3.91 per whole turkey, compared to last year.
The whole turkey is the item that showed the largest price increase compared to last year but there were several other items included in the survey that also showed a price jump.
A gallon of whole milk increased 42 cents a gallon to $3.66; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix increased 41 cents to $3.03; two nine-inch pie shells increased six cents to $2.52; a half pint of whipping cream increased 26 cents to $1.96; one pound of green peas increased 24 cents to $1.68; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing increased 24 cents to $2.88; a dozen brown-n-serve rolls increased 18 cents to $2.30; three pounds of sweet potatoes increased 7 cents to $3.26; fresh cranberries increased seven cents to $2.48.
The cost of a one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery decreased by a penny to 76 cents, while a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients needed to prepare the meal, decreased in price to $3.10.
Mike Morrison, manager of Warren's IGA in Marietta, said he hasn't noticed much of a difference in Thanksgiving dinner items between this year and last.
"I think the prices are really similar," he said.
Morrison added that the store is running a special on turkeys this week which began Friday.
"We were busy right off the bat (Friday)," he said.
An IGA brand turkey is 59 cents a pound, a Honeysuckle brand turkey is 79 cents a pound and a Butterball brand turkey is 99 cents a pound.
He said those are usually about $1.29, $1.49 and $1.69 per pound, respectively.
Kathy Dodrill, an extension educator at the Ohio State University Extension office in Marietta, said looking for specials on Thanksgiving meal items is a good way to save money but there are also several other ways to save.
For one thing, she said the hosts should not take on the task of purchasing and preparing every item on their own.
"Let guests help," Dodrill said. "Everybody always says, 'What can I bring?' and if they don't, ask them to bring something because it can get really expensive."
She said keeping recipes simple - making green beans instead of green bean casserole - will also save a person a chunk of change and keeping the menu simple is also a good idea.
"Don't go overboard with variety," Dodrill said. "You don't have to have everybody's favorite thing."
She added that many people go overboard on Thanksgiving by making too much food but this can be avoided if folks familiarize themselves with correct portion sizes.
Dodrill said, for example, one person usually eats one medium potato and one-and-a-half to two rolls. She said about a pound-and-a-half of green beans make six servings.
"If the turkey is less than 16 pounds, you should estimate about one pound per person because you have the bone weight," she said. "If it's a larger bird, you can estimate a little bit less because they have a higher meat to bone ratio."
"I know nobody wants to skimp on the holidays but start off with correct portion sizes so people don't waste a whole lot," Dodrill said.