Cost of Thanksgiving dinner will be a tad higher for AZ shoppers - East Valley Tribune: Capitol Media Services

Cost of Thanksgiving dinner will be a tad higher for AZ shoppers

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Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 5:30 pm

PHOENIX — The cost of feeding the assorted horde of family and friends that show up on Thanksgiving is up a bit this year — but not much.

New figures from the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation put the cost of a typical dinner for 10 at $48.63. That's up $1.10 from a year earlier.

The difference is really less than that: Factor in a 1.5 percent inflation factor between 2012 and 2013 and the bottom line increase comes down to just 39 cents — or 4 cents for each person around the table.

If you're into organic, though, be prepared to shell out more.

The Farm Bureau's survey figures the same items will set you back $91 — $3.77 more than last year.

And even after discounting inflation, prices are still up by $2.47.

As always, the bird is not just the centerpiece of the meal but also the priciest item on the shopping list. Farm Bureau shoppers found the average 16-pound bird selling for $1.30 a pound, about a dime a pound more than last year.

Julie Murphree, the organization's public relations director, said the increase should come as no surprise.

“All meat prices, across the board, are up,” she said. And Murphree said it appears that trend should continue for the foreseeable future.

But careful shoppers can do much better, although there are some conditions.

The annual survey is based on what Farm Bureau shoppers find in the stores. That's before any coupons — and before any special savings offered to holders of a supermarket's affinity card.

Several stores already are offering free 16-pound turkeys to shoppers, but that is contingent on buying $100 worth of other items in the same shopping trip.

The year-over-year price changes for other items for dinner are all over the board and fall into no particular pattern.

For example, milk is virtually the same price it was last year. But that half pint of whipping cream is now selling for $2.28, a whopping 30 percent increase over 2012 prices.

Sweet potatoes are more expensive, but you can get a package frozen peas for 20 percent less this year than last year.

Murphree said the Farm Bureau continues to see an increase in sales of products labeled organic, in the neighborhood of 8 to 9 percent a year, far faster than population growth.

Still, it's not like Arizonans are rushing to put more organic items on the table.

“It's still such a small percentage of the ag market,” Murphree said.

“But it's significant,” she continued. “And we are all celebrating it because whenever you have a segment that has a lot of growth, its healthy overall for the entire industry.”

Murphree also pointed out that the total tab for Arizona shoppers is less than the national average.

“We always like to make that comparison,” she said. “Sometimes we're ahead of them.”

She said that while the final tab for a single meal may seem like a lot, shoppers should put that into perspective: The final price is $4.86 per person.

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