Turkey prices alone may result in more expensive holiday

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. — With Thanksgiving around the corner, consumers will soon be purchasing and preparing the holiday dinner, which, in all likelihood, will be slightly more expensive than in 2009, according to data from The Food Institute.

Meanwhile, retail food prices have been outpaced by wholesale advances for the past year and food-at-home prices are up 1.4 percent compared to a year ago, the largest increase this year so far, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Feed increase

Prices for tom turkeys thus far in 2010 are up over 30 percent compared to last year, averaging $1.05 per pound. The main reason for this large increase is the rising cost of feed for the birds, which is currently standing at $5.77 per bushel as of Oct. 27, compared to $3.70 in the same time period in 2009, a 56 percent increase.

Production down

Also, overall production of turkeys is down, according to USDA’s NASS, with a 2 percent decrease to 242 million.

In terms of the fruits, vegetables and nuts that are traditionally served, it seems to be a mixed bag compared to 2009.

Canned pumpkin prices are up after two straight years of poor harvests and little carry-over from year-to-year.

Pecan prices, meanwhile, are up over 40 percent from last year, attributed mostly to increased demand for the crop from China, leaving little for the domestic market.

On the positive side, the other main canned vegetables are seeing a price decrease from 2009 due to last year’s strong pricing across the board.

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