Cost of Thanksgiving Falls to 5-Year Low as Food Prices Fall

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The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has posted its carefully followed “cost of Thanksgiving” report. According to the organization, the cost of the annual meal has fallen to the lowest level in five years. For 2017, the total cost of the meal will be $49.12, compared to $49.87 last year.

The price of the most famous part of the meal — a 16-pound turkey — will drop enough to substantially affect the total. The cost of the bird for 2017 will be $22.38, or $1.40 per pound. This is a drop of two cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016.

The study is the 32nd time the AFBF has issued the price of a meal, which includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk. The figure is based on a meal for a group of 10 people, and includes leftovers.

Other parts of the meal will post a drop in cost. The AFBF reports:

Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey, were a gallon of milk, $2.99; a dozen rolls, $2.26; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.45; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.52; a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.53; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $2.72.

The information is not just a well-known measure of a single holiday meal cost. It is also an indicator of the state of food commodity prices. Corn prices dropped recently on expectations that the size of the nation’s crop will grow, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The annual corn crop yield will be over 14 billion bushels, almost certainly the third largest on record. Wheat and soybean futures have also dropped recently, primarily based on forecasts of abundant supply.

The falling price of crops may be good for people celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. However, farm owners don’t have much to cheer about this holiday season.