Turkey Prices May Gobble Up Holiday Budget

Consumers purchasing all the essentials for their Thanksgiving dinner may discover that it will be slightly more expensive than in 2009, according to data from The Food Institute.

Meanwhile, retail food prices have been outpaced by wholesale advances for the past year and food-at-home prices are up 1.4 percent compared to a year ago, the largest increase this year so far, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Prices for tom turkeys thus far in 2010 are up more than 30 percent compared to last year, averaging $1.05 per pound. The main reason for the increase is the rising cost of feed – $5.77 per bushel as of Oct. 27, compared to $3.70 in the same time period in 2009, a 56 percent increase. Also, overall production of turkeys is down, according to USDA’s NASS, with a 2 percent decrease to 242 million.

In terms of the fruits, vegetables and nuts that are traditionally served, it seems to be a mixed bag compared to 2009.
Canned pumpkin prices are up after two straight years of poor harvests and little carry-over from year-to-year. Pecan prices, meanwhile, are up more than 40 percent from last year, attributed mostly to increased demand for the crop from China, leaving little for the domestic market.

On the positive side for consumers, the other main canned vegetables are seeing a price decrease from 2009 due to last year’s strong pricing across the board.

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