As millions sat down for a traditional Thanksgiving meal Thursday, it is doubtful they gave much thought to the 4 percent savings they were enjoying on that turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
But the savings was there, according to the Waco-based Texas Farm Bureau, whose annual Thanksgiving Meal Report shows a dinner in the Lone Star State would cost $46.75, down $2.10 from $48.85 last year.
Having the biggest impact on that lower price was the star of the show, a 16-pound, self-basting, young tom turkey. It cost $1.76 less than it did in previous years because of robust turkey production among farmers.
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows record amounts of turkey kept in cold storage. The extra supply has encouraged some retailers to move the product at discounted prices while demand is high, farm bureau President Russell Boening said in the report.
“The turkey supply is up about 10 percent this year, and the turkey we priced came in at nearly $18, a savings of about 11 cents per pound,” farm bureau spokesman Gene Hall said by phone.
The oversupply is big enough to keep prices relatively low for the foreseeable future, Hall said.
The price for a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people this year is the lowest he can recall in at least five years, Hall said.
Meanwhile, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported that its national survey found that a feast for 10 would run $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87, according to the organization’s website.
“For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined,” John Newton, American Farm Bureau director of market intelligence, said in a news release. “The cost of the dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011. Even as America’s family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year.”
The shopping list for the federation’s informal survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty of leftovers, according to information provided by the bureau.
The state farm bureau’s survey records the cost of 10 holiday staples, including turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pecan pie, according to a press release.
In addition to the turkey, five other items decreased in price: fresh sweet potatoes, which dipped a fraction of 1 percent; cubed stuffing herb seasoning, down 2.7 percent; a package of 12 brown and serve rolls, down 1 percent; frozen 9-inch pie shells, down 3.9 percent; whole milk, down 3.7 percent; and shelled and halved pecans, down 1.9 percent.
Texas Farm Bureau report states Hurricane Harvey reduced the Texas pecan crop, “but prices remain close to what they were last year due to a large supply from above average crops in consecutive years.”
Texans will pay more for two Thanksgiving staples this year: jellied cranberry sauce, up 3.6 percent, and whipping cream, up 3.5 percent.
“Preparing large holiday meals can be expensive,” Boening wrote in the press release. “But this year, Texans can budget a little less for the traditional Thanksgiving meal.”
Prices for the Thanksgiving Meal Report and Grocery Price Watch were reported by 41 volunteer shoppers at grocery stores statewide from Nov. 2 through Nov. 9. The fourth-quarter Grocery Price Watch survey indicates a slight decrease for household staples. Prices for 16 common food products dropped 68 cents to $46.07, according to the report.