Thanksgiving

A survey of grocery store prices of traditional Thanksgiving dishes found that the average cost of a meal for 10 people in 2018 is $48.90, a 22-cent decrease from 2017.

How much cash gets gobbled up on the average Thanksgiving meal? This year, not quite so much.

The average cost of a Thanksgiving meal is at its lowest level since 2010, according to a new survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

A survey of grocery store prices of traditional Thanksgiving dishes found that the average cost of a meal for 10 people is $48.90, a 22-cent decrease from 2017.

This is the third straight year the average has decreased, according to an Idaho Farm Bureau news release.

The survey shows that retail food prices have been relatively flat in recent years, according to Farm Bureau Federation president Bryan Searle.

While farmers and ranchers are struggling with commodity prices, the decrease in the cost of an average Thanksgiving meal shows that consumers benefit from lower retail food prices, Searle said in the news release.

“American farmers are really good at what they do: producing a large amount of food at very reasonable prices,” Searle said in the news release. “The U.S. agricultural industry continues to ensure Americans can enjoy an abundant, safe and affordable supply of food.”

One-hundred sixty-six volunteer shoppers from 37 states checked grocery store prices for turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a vegetable tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk.

The shoppers noted the best possible prices, without including discounted items.

Their results showed that a 16-pound turkey costs on average $21.71, a 67-cent decrease from last year. A gallon of milk is $2.92, down 7 cents. A 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes is $3.39, down 13 cents. A 1-pound bag of green peas is $1.47, down 6 cents. And a dozen rolls is $2.25, down 1 cent.

A few items saw price increases. Twelve ounces of cranberries is now $2.65, a 22-cent increase. A 30-ounce pumpkin pie mix is $3.33, up 12 cents. And a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing is $2.87, up 6 cents.

Fred Meyer in Idaho Falls was bustling with Thanksgiving dinner shoppers on Friday afternoon. Fred Meyer sells Kroger frozen turkeys for $1.49 per pound, or $23.84 for a 16-pound turkey. The cost of a turkey decreases to 49 cents per pound when a shopper spends $50 or more.

Albertson’s on 17th Street has a similar promotion that decreases the cost of a turkey to 45 cents per pound when a shopper spends at least $25. Alberston’s turkeys typically cost $1.69 per pound, or $27.04 for a 16-pound turkey.

Linda Manning of Arco was doing part of her Thanksgiving shopping on Friday. Manning said she hadn’t noticed the cost of her holiday groceries because she typically buys the same thing every year.

“To be honest, the meal is quite traditional so I don’t pay much attention to the cost,” she said.

She had her eye on a turkey at Fred Meyer but decided against it.

“They only had one and it’s a little on the small side,” Manning said.

She’s going to come to Idaho Falls again next week. She wants more options and more time to find the right bird.