Consumers shopping for their Thanksgiving feasts are likely to find the cash register tally to be significantly higher than last year's.
A traditional meal for 10 people will cost an average of $49.48, an increase of $11.38 compared to money shelled out for last year's banquet, according to research conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Shoppers can look to that holiday superstar, the turkey, and its appetite for the bulk of the increase. Economists cite the increased price of grain, which is used to feed turkeys, as causing an increase in production costs for raising all livestock in general.
Erath County Extension Agent Donna White placed some of the blame for higher prices on the rise in fuel prices as well.
"Although they have come down a bit, they still effect food costs," White said.
Other items included in the market survey used in the Federation's research were 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.
But diehard Thanksgiving enthusiasts are not likely to altar their traditional menus. And a little ingenuity on the part of a shopper can go a long way in cutting costs. Economists suggest the shop around town tactic with an eye to market flyers as the best way to avoid buyer's remorse at the register.
Other tips include sticking to a list, using coupons, choosing generic or store brands, purchasing unpackaged fresh vegetables and making the shopping trip a solo one. And keep in mind items placed on shelves at eye level are generally more expensive.
White recommends pooling resources in order to mitigate the costs of the Thanksgiving meal.
"People don't think about the spices they need for foods they don't cook that often," she said. "Spices are called for in recipes that are seldom used. If you need a small amount of something, try sharing ingredients with friends and family. You can each agree to buy something and divvy it out among yourselves."