Average Thanksgiving meal cost down again

(11/20/20) ALEXANDRIA, La. — 2020 may go down in history as one of the most uncertain and crazy years ever, but for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual cost survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table, “the show must go on.”

This survey was started in 1986 and is highly anticipated by the media and consumers each year, said AgCenter nutrition agent Quincy Vidrine, who has been counting the cost of our favorite holiday meal for many years.

Some good news for 2020 is that the national average total of Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010, and Louisiana prices are on pace to follow that trend as well, Vidrine said.

The national average cost of Thanksgiving dinner comes in this year at $46.90 and the average cost in Louisiana comes in at $46.24 — 66 cents lower.

“For the past six years, Louisiana has come in under the national average cost by at least $1.00 or so,” she said.

The price of turkey is significantly lower, while other staples in the dinner vary in price. Holiday foods included in the survey are turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk. The quantities are enough to serve 10 people while providing plenty of leftovers.

The AgCenter survey took place both in-store and online in central Louisiana.

“Most of the items included in a traditional Thanksgiving meal were plentiful, and shelves were well stocked with staples,” Vidrine said.

Specialty items and variety were lacking due to fluctuations in supply as both health concerns and weather events impeded the normal course of business, she said.

In light of the pandemic, consumers may want to err on the side of caution and forgo the annual Thanksgiving meal shopping trip. They can still take advantage of the many sales and promotions being offered as well as use pick-up and delivery options, she said.

Vidrine suggests going online to review the circulars and decide what will be the best deal for you and your family.

“Do you really need a turkey that feeds 10 people when you will just be feeding the members of your immediate household? Maybe not,” she said. “Perhaps a small turkey breast would suffice.”

Restaurants, grocery stores and specialty meat markets are making accommodations for those who are leery of getting out and offering delivery and no-contact pick-up options.

“While these services may cost a little more, they may be just what you need to stay safe,” Vidrine said.

One thing is for sure: Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different this year, perhaps with smaller groups and virtual gatherings.

“But giving thanks on this special day is still the reason we come together as families, and also as a nation,” Vidrine said.

11/20/2020 8:47:04 PM
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