Despite slight increase, Virginians’ Thanksgiving meal still a bargain

Despite slight increase, Virginians’ Thanksgiving meal still a bargain
RICHMOND—Virginians will be able to feed their families a Thanksgiving meal for about $5.06 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 $50.56. 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 by volunteer shoppers using no promotional sales or coupons.

This year’s average represents an increase of $6.54 from the 2016 average price of $44.02 for a 10-person meal.

The locality reporting the highest average cost for a meal this year was Gloucester County at $64.35. The locality with the lowest average cost was Floyd County at $31.78.

“This annual survey continues to demonstrate that farmers across the nation provide an opportunity for families to share a meal in an affordable way,” said Wilmer Stoneman, director of VFBF’s commodity marketing department.

Based on surveys at grocery stores throughout Virginia, Farm Bureau found the average cost of a 16-pound turkey was $25.24, or a little more than $1.57 per pound. Virginia consumers paid an average of $1.15 per pound last year.

The organization found that the average price for a gallon of milk was $3.12; for peas, $1.56; for a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $2.62; for celery, $1.49; for carrots, $1.07; for pie shells, $2.46; for whipping cream, $1.87; for canned pumpkin pie filling, $3.20; for cranberries, $2.55; for stuffing mix, $2.86; and for rolls, $2.52 a dozen.

Since VFBF began conducting the survey in 2003, the average cost of a family’s Thanksgiving meal in Virginia has increased by $11.44.

“Virginia farmers prove every year that they are committed to making sure Americans have an abundance of wholesome food and they are so good at what they do that consumers are able to enjoy affordable food—on Thanksgiving and every day,” remarked VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor.

Nationally, an informal survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation found the average cost of this year’s meal for 10 to be $49.12, or $4.91 per person. That represents a 75-cent decrease from last year’s national average of $49.67.

Declines in the average retail price for turkey, rolls and milk are the main drivers behind the decrease in the cost of the meal, said Dr. John Newton, director of market intelligence for AFBF. The average cost of a turkey has declined nationally as well, he said.

This is the second consecutive year that the overall price of a Thanksgiving dinner has declined across the U.S. It is the lowest level since 2013 and second-lowest level since 2011.

“Virginians may be paying slightly more than the national average cost of a basic Thanksgiving meal this year, but at just over $5 per person, it’s still a great bargain,” Pryor noted.

Media: Contact Sherri McKinney, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1148.

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