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Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Up This Year

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It's probably no surprise. Thanksgiving Dinner will cost you more this year. Michele Skalicky has more.

Prices are up in several areas, and groceries are no exception. The Missouri Farm Bureau sent members around the state on a shopping trip to collect prices of items for a Thanksgiving dinner. What they found was that, when they averaged the cost of those items, prices were up. Diane Olson is Director of Promotion and Education Programs for the Farm Bureau.

"We shopped for things like a 16-pound turkey. We looked at pre-made stuffing mix, pre-made pumpkin pie filling and pre-made shells, things of that nature so we could do the cost comparison. So, although it's a traditional menu, it may vary slightly in content from what you would have at your family meal. What we found was that those items all rang in at $38.44. Planning for a group of ten, that translates into $3.84 per person."

That compares with last year's price of $34.24 for the group or $3.42 per person. That's an increase of 42 cents per person. Only two items on the menu dropped in price: sugar and celery. The major price increases were for a gallon of whole milk, which was up 98 cents over last year, and a half pint of whipping cream, which cost 30 cents more than last year. Butter was up 6 cents a pound, eggs increased 46 cents per dozen and cranberries cost 12 cents more than last year for a 12-ounce package. Olson attributes that to higher gas prices.

"I think we have to be realistic in looking at our energy cost because the production cost, the transportation cost, the packaging and processing all of those hinge on that fuel cost and so, I think we've got to be realistic in that those prices are somewhat being driven by that factor."

But Olson says, even though prices are higher this year, Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people is still affordable.

"Especially when you think that cost would actually come down on a per-person basis if you figured out just how many other meals or contributions to other meals that could be made from that leftover amount because we're looking at two full-size pumpkin pies, and very-seldom does that get consumed by ten people. It's one of those things that, when you look at menus that are being offered now by establishments that are going to be open Thanksgiving Day, you won't find any of them with a price tag that approximates this at all."

Olson says they collected prices for their survey early in order to avoid the multitude of sales used by grocery stores to lure shoppers. She says Thanksgiving dinner will probably end up costing less since many people plan to take advantage of grocery store discounts as the holiday approaches.