The price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal is on the rise in Virginia, according to a study released this week by the Farm Bureau. The study found that for 10 adults, the price of preparing Thanksgiving costs an estimated $50.01. That’s an increase of $2.78 from the 2012 average and includes items like turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, cranberries, milk, a relish tray of carrots and celery, as well as pumpkin pie. Farm Bureau officials said the price didn’t take into account any promotional sales or coupons.
“There are two factors that can explain the increase in basket prices from last year— an improving economy for much of the nation and substantially higher livestock prices, which would include turkeys,” said Jonah Bowles, Virginia Farm Bureau agriculture market analyst, in a statement. “The fact that vegetable prices are lower in 2013 was expected due to better growing conditions across the nation. The United States has a bountiful supply of food that is distributed through many retailers. This creates an environment in which consumers are able to shop for the best buys for their needs and improves the prospects of them beating the average food basket prices.”
Farm Bureau officials conducted surveys of grocery stores throughout the Commonwealth and found the average price for a 16-pound turkey was $24.35 or $1.52 per pound. That’s up from last year, when shoppers paid an average $1.35 per pound. The organization found that the average price for a gallon of milk was $3.65; for peas, $1.19; for a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $2.80; for celery, $1.72; for carrots, $1.04; for pie shells, $2.01; for whipping cream, $1.64; for canned pumpkin pie filling, $3.12; for cranberries, $2.99; for stuffing mix, $2.91; and for rolls, $2.59 a dozen.
In the last decade, the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal in Virginia has gone up by $10.89.
That doesn’t translate into higher profits for farmers, however. According to officials from the American Farm Bureau Federation, farmers get only 16 cents out of every dollar spent on food. The rest goes for costs beyond the farm gate: wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution. In 1980, farmers and ranchers received 31 cents from each consumer food dollar.
Using that percentage across the board, farmers’ share of the average Thanksgiving meal cost in Virginia would be slightly more than $8 this year.