By Christy Strawser
CBS Detroit Managing Editor
Tightening your belt is an oxymoron when it comes to the Thanksgiving dinner table — a time when most people are hoping their belt has an extra notch.
But anyone hoping to cinch their Turkey Day costs this year may be out of luck.
According to an informal price survey released by the Virginia Farm Bureau, Thanksgiving dinner will cost about $4.80 per person this year. That means dinner for 10 will cost about $48 in 2011, up $4.46 over last year’s price.
The menu in question includes an all-American homemade Thanksgiving dinner, turkey with all the trimmings, dressing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Prices were reported without coupons.
Why the price increase?
“It is not surprising that our Thanksgiving basket cost more in 2011 than last year,” said Jonah Bowles, Virginia Farm Bureau agriculture market analyst, in a press release. “Most agricultural prices around the world are much more expensive than in 2010. Add to that a higher transportation expense, and the 11 percent increase over 2010 prices becomes very understandable.”
Based on a grocery store survey, the Farm Bureau found the average cost of a 16-pound turkey was $21.39, or $1.34 per pound. Shoppers paid an average of $1.21 per pound last year. The organization found the average price for a gallon of milk was $4.04; peas, $1.71; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $2.84; celery, $1.68; carrots, $1.44; pie shells, $2.40; whipping cream, $2.01; canned pumpkin pie filling, $2.73; cranberries, $2.48; stuffing mix, $2.90; and rolls, $2.41 a dozen.
But there is hope. Bowles said savvy consumers should shop around for better deals — because they’re out there.
“There are wide variations in prices of each component in the basket. It is to the advantage of the consumer to shop around for the best deals,” Bowles said in a press release.
So tell us about your great deals. What are the best prices you’ve spotted around metro Detroit for Thanksgiving dinner items?