Survey: Virginians’ Thanksgiving meal cost decreases for 2014

thanksgivingVirginians will be able to feed their families a Thanksgiving meal for less than $5 per person this year, according to an informal price survey conducted by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

The survey of the price of basic items found on Virginians’ Thanksgiving tables places the average cost of a traditional meal for 10 adults at $46.45. The menu includes turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, milk and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Prices were reported using no promotional sales or coupons.

VFBF reports this year’s average represents a decrease of $3.56 from the 2013 average total.

The locality surveyed that had the highest average cost for a meal was Middlesex County at $58.08. The locality with the lowest average cost was Wythe County at $41.43.

“Anything associated with grain or that involves energy to produce will be lower this year than last year,” said Jonah Bowles, VFBF agriculture market analyst.

“We are fortunate in this country to have such a bountiful supply of food, and this survey certainly highlights the benefits of shopping for the best deals. It is interesting that our Virginia survey shows prices for turkeys are lower this year. All livestock and poultry prices nationwide are substantially higher than last year across the board.”

Based on surveys of grocery stores throughout Virginia, Farm Bureau found the average cost of a 16-pound turkey was $21.88 or $1.37 per pound. Consumers paid an average of $1.52 per pound last year in the commonwealth.

The organization found that the average price for a gallon of milk was $3.84; for peas, $1.44; for a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $2.56; for celery, $1.58; for carrots, $.84; for pie shells, $2.40; for whipping cream, $1.74; for canned pumpkin pie filling, $3.10; for cranberries, $2.25; for stuffing mix, $2.71; and for rolls, $2.11 a dozen.

Since VFBF began conducting the survey in 2003, the average cost of a family’s Thanksgiving meal in Virginia has increased by $7.33.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, farmers receive only 16 cents out of every dollar Americans spend 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 $7 this year.



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