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Good News: Holiday Meal Shouldn't Cost More This Year

Americans shopping for their Thanksgiving dinner should find good news at checkout. Why this year's meal shouldn't cost more than last.
Good news for people cooking this Thanksgiving. The average total cost of items typically served during the holiday meal  is 44 cents less than last year's total. That's according to an annual survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

The largest price drop among those items? The big bird.

"Well, the main item on our Thanksgiving survey is the turkey, which is not surprising. It's by far the item with the biggest value in that market basket of Thanksgiving goods," points out John Anderson, deputy chief economist with the AFBF.  "And the price of turkey was down about 50 cents, not quite 50 cents. And so that accounted for most of the decline."

The average cost of a 16 pound turkey will cost about $21.76  this year.

Other Thanksgiving items that cost less than last year: Green peas, stuffing, fresh cranberries, and dinner rolls.

Items with a slight increase -- a gallon of milk, up seven cents, and three pounds of sweet potatoes, up 21 cents.

The stability in Thanksgiving food prices is largely due to relatively quiet weather, meaning few disruptions for farmers.

"We just haven't those major widespread sort of big news story weather events that caused a lot of problems. And so that's been a real positive feature certainly for farmers and for consumers obviously," Anderson notes.

Another contributing factor -- lower energy prices mean lower costs to process and transport food to stores. That gives every grocery shopper a reason to be thankful.


(Karin Caifa for CNN's Consumer Watch)


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