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Cost For Turkey Dinner in FL Lowest Since 2010: Only 8 Cents of Every Dollar Goes to Farmers 

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TALLAHASSEE, FL –  According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual inflation index analysis of the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, Floridians paid more this year than last for their big bird and all the fixings: one cent more, that is.

“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is essentially unchanged from last year, after three years of decline since 2015,” the federation's chief economist, John Newton, said. “Americans continue to enjoy the most affordable food supply in the world, but most don’t realize only 8 cents of every dollar consumers spend on food goes to farmers.”

The federation's inflation index study, released Monday, found the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner purchased at Florida-based Publix grocery stores of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray and pumpkin pie for 10 people is $48.91, one penny more than the same study found last year.

After adjusting for inflation, the federation said the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner fell to $19.13, the lowest since 2010. That finding is supported by October’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report that indicates overall food prices paid by Americans declined more than 2 percent over the last year.

The study fixed the average price of a 16-pound gobbler at $20.80, the lowest it’s been since 2010. However, the federation notes, turkey prices can vary from place to place.

“For instance,” the study states, “turkey at Publix the week of Thanksgiving was on sale for just $0.49 per pound putting a 16-pound turkey at just $7.84, less than half the survey’s cost.”

Menu items that declined in cost since last year include cubed stuffing bread and canned pumpkin pie mix, while dinner rolls, sweet potatoes and milk increased in price this year.

The survey estimates pumpkin pie at $3.32 for the pie mix and $2.52 for the pie shells, totaling $5.84 for the whole pie.

An opinion poll cited in the federation’s survey indicates 90 percent of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving with a special meal and, of that 90 percent, turkey will be the featured item for 95 percent. Half of those celebrating Thanksgiving will also serve ham alongside the traditional bird, according to the poll.

Adding ham, potatoes and frozen green beans to the traditional menu increased its overall cost to $62.32.

The federation noted that, according to the opinion poll cited in the survey, most Americans were surprised that, when adjusted for inflation, the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner has declined significantly over the decades.

The poll also revealed few Americans realize how low the income, or profit margin, is for the nation’s farmers and that 88 percent “have faith in those who grow their food” and “trust farmers.”

On average, the federation maintains, farmers receive 14.6 cents of every food dollar consumers spend. When adjusted for inflation, the “farm share” just 12.1 cents per dollar spent on Thanksgiving dinner.

Among specifics cited in the survey:

• Wheat farmers receive 3 cents on 12 dinner rolls sold for $2.69.

• Turkey farmers receive about a half percent (96 cents) of the retail value for a 10-pound turkey costing $20.80.

• Pumpkin farmers receive 25 cents, 6.4 percent of the $3.89 spent for canned pumpkin pie mix.

• Dairy farmers receive $1.66 from a gallon of milk costing an average of $4.59.

“The Thanksgiving price survey opens the door to a deeper dialogue about how food is produced and how prices remain so stable despite volatility in the farm economy this year and severe weather hampering planting and harvest,” Newton said.

This piece appeared in the The Center Square and was reprinted by the Columbia County Observer with permission or license.

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