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Inflation raises the price for the average Thanksgiving feast 16.1% in Virginia

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Several years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered the safe cooking temperature for the overall turkey to 165 degrees. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Coldest on Sunday night, but a moderating trend next week

Inflation is going to impact the holiday dinner table with the price for a Thanksgiving meal rising for the third consecutive year.

An informational survey conducted by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation reported the average cost to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 adults is $73.91, or $7.39 per person.

The survey’s meal included turkey, ham, stuffing, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, rolls, carrots, celery, cranberries, green beans, peas, milk and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Virginia’s statewide average increased by $10.25 — an increase of 16.1% — from 2021 when a 10-person Thanksgiving feast could be prepared for $63.66, or $6.36 per person, according to the survey.

The VFBF said the survey data was relatively consistent with Consumer Price Index trends that reported a 12.4% increase in the cost for food-at-home purchases over the previous year.

Turkey — the staple of every Thanksgiving table — increased 12.1% in price. The survey showed that the average 16-pound turkey was $28.09, or $1.76 per pound.

Part of the reason for the increase in turkey price was a national outbreak in avian flu this year. Over 50.3 million birds were affected, including many large commercial producers with over 100,000 birds, according to CDC data.

This is the 19th year VFBF has conducted the survey, based on an annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Volunteer shoppers checked prices online and in person at 28 grocery stores across the state.

In all, the Farm Bureau discovered the average price for a 4-pound bone-in ham was $10.24; a gallon of whole milk was $3.67; frozen peas, $1.60; frozen green beans, $1.67; 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.12; a 5-pound bag of russet potatoes, $4.37; fresh celery, $1.81; fresh carrots, $1.06; two pie shells, $3.33; whipping cream, $2.26; canned pumpkin pie filling, $3.68; fresh cranberries, $2.28; stuffing mix, $3.13; and a dozen dinner rolls, $3.62.

Cranberries were 2 cents cheaper, the only item to have decreased in price.

Henrico County was found to have the state’s highest average cost for a traditional Thanksgiving meal at $90.51. Carroll County was the lowest at $55.79.

Several grocery and shopping outlets have already pledged to help keep people’s price tags affordable this holiday.

Kroger announced a “zero-compromise holiday shopping guide” last week with the goal of feeding 10 people for $5 per person, including a complete freeze in turkey prices.

Items listed in the program: turkey, rolls, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, corn, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

“This Thanksgiving, we are helping our customers keep turkey at the center of the plate by not passing on rising turkey costs,” said Stuart Aitken, a senior vice president for Kroger.

Kroger’s retail and data science, insights and media arm says 48% of customers surveyed are planning to cut back on at least some of their Thanksgiving shopping due to inflationary pressures.

Aldi is preparing for the holiday with a “Thanksgiving Price Rewind” offering what the grocer says will match its prices from 2019, with discounts of up to 30%. Shoppers looking for favorites such as brie cheese, prosciutto, cornbread stuffing or apple pie should look for the company’s Thanksgiving Price Rewind in the store.

Walmart also says it’s been working with suppliers to bring families an affordable holiday meal through Dec. 26.

“Saving money is a top priority for our customers right now, so this year, we’re removing inflation on an entire basket containing traditional Thanksgiving items,” Walmart said in a statement. “We made significant investments on top of our everyday low prices so customers can get a traditional Thanksgiving meal at last year’s price at Walmart.”

Turkeys weighing 10 to 17 pounds are currently listed online for 98 cents per pound at Walmart, pricing a 16-pound turkey at $15.68.

sjones1@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6911

Twitter: @SeanJones_RTD

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