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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Your Budget


Turkey with stuffingCost of Thanksgiving meal decreases in 2009

Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, nutrition and health education specialist, Barton County, University of Missouri Extension


Consumers are usually happy to hear that food prices have decreased. This year, the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal is lower than it was in 2008. Last year, the national average cost for a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people was $44.61. This year, the cost for the same meal is $42.91.


Since 1986, the American Farm Bureau Federation has conducted a survey about the cost of Thanksgiving dinner. Shoppers from 35 states look for the best prices on a food list that includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee, and milk.


In Missouri, the cost of items to feed 10 people totaled $42.57. The cost of a 16-pound turkey is $1.44 less than last year and a gallon of milk is $.51 less. The costs of all the vegetables on the list were also less this year. There was, however, an increase in the price of some items. The cost of stuffing was $.38 higher, pumpkin pie mix was $.11 higher and cranberries increased by 8 cents.


Although Missouri’s cost of $4.26 per person seems reasonable for a large Thanksgiving meal, there are ways to decrease the cost even more. There are many sales and promotional deals for Thanksgiving food. You can save a significant amount of money by watching sales circulars and taking advantage of special offers that significantly reduce the price of the turkey.


Many people enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers more than the meal. If you want to make sure you have leftover turkey, plan on purchasing one pound of turkey per person. That should be enough for turkey sandwiches and turkey pot pie.


This year, in addition to many other things, we can be thankful that the cost of our Thanksgiving meal has declined.



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Last update: Monday, November 23, 2009