Thanksgiving Day food costs decrease

According to a price survey by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the cost of Thanksgiving dinner will be $3.56 less than last year.

The Farm Bureau’s survey analyzed the costs of standard Thanksgiving staples, such as turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, cranberries and pumpkin pie for a meal that could feed 10 adults. This year’s meal will cost $46.45, equaling out to roughly $4.65 per person.

According to Sherri McKinney, a Farm Bureau communications specialist, volunteers conduct the survey across the state by going to their local supermarkets and recording the prices. Shenandoah, Frederick and Warren counties did not report back this year.

Jonah Bowles, Farm Bureau agriculture market analyst, said the reasons for the cost drop vary.

“Some of it is in the production of the food, some of it is consumer behavior,” he said.

On the production side of the equation, Bowles said grain prices are down this year, as well as the energy costs to process products.

“No matter what the food, each level of production requires a fuel and transportation. For example, the farmer has to transport the grain to production, then fuel is made to turn it into a roll, then the rolls are transported to market,” Bowles said.

The Farm Bureau found that the price of turkey dropped from $1.52 per pound in 2013 to $1.37 this year. Bowles said he does not know whether the reason for the price drop is due to Virginia’s increase in turkey production.

“It could be the increase, but nationally the price of all poultry is going up,” Bowles said. “We’re going to have to wait for more data before we can figure out what’s going on here.”

McKinney said she believes the decrease in turkey price is related to Virginia’s turkey production.

“We produce enough turkeys in this state to feed everyone a turkey three times over,” McKinney said. “Turkeys don’t have to travel as far in this state, and with the fuel costs down, the shopper gets the savings.”

According to Bowles, another reason for the price drop is consumers searching for the best value products.

“People are looking for ways to reduce their expenditures so they maintain their lifestyles,” Bowles said. “They’re looking for the best deals and the best places to shop.”

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com