Thanksgiving meal costs more

Advocate File photo provided by Butterball Turkey -- The cost for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that will feed 10 people jumped to $44.35, an increase of $5.16 or 13.2 percent over last year’s Baton Rouge average, according to LSU AgCenter family economist Jeanette Tucker. Show caption
Advocate File photo provided by Butterball Turkey -- The cost for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that will feed 10 people jumped to $44.35, an increase of $5.16 or 13.2 percent over last year’s Baton Rouge average, according to LSU AgCenter family economist Jeanette Tucker.

Higher grain and fuel costs mean a double-digit increase for the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, according to an LSU AgCenter survey.

The cost for dinner that will feed 10 people jumped to $44.35, an increase of $5.16 or 13.2 percent over last year’s Baton Rouge average, according to LSU AgCenter family economist Jeanette Tucker.

The Louisiana survey was based on an American Farm Bureau Federation shopping list that includes a 16-pound turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a group of 10.

The major reason for the increase was the price of turkey, which jumped nearly 34 percent. This year a 16-pound turkey costs $18.45, or roughly $1.15 per pound. Last year, the price per pound was around 86 cents, 29 cents less, per pound. A 16-pound bird cost $13.87, $4.58 less.

U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that turkey prices at the farm level have increased by about 5 percent.

However, AgCenter research has shown that four out of five Thanksgiving turkeys are sold on a holiday special. This suggests that many consumers will probably pay less for turkeys than the surveys have shown, Tucker said.

With projected holiday price cuts, wise shoppers may wish to purchase a second turkey to keep in the freezer for the future, she said.

Kurt Guidry, LSU AgCenter agricultural economist, said in a news release that the higher turkey price “is likely a function of the much higher grain prices we have seen primarily as a result of the drought in 2012. The higher grain prices have definitely increased the costs of production for raising livestock, and it may be getting reflected in higher animal prices.”

Higher fuel costs — gasoline and diesel were up around 3.5 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy — have also increased feed costs, Guidry said.