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Thanksgiving dinner price tag down a bit in Missouri this year

roast turkey
M.Rehemtulla | Flickr

A slight bit of relief is being touted for grocery shoppers preparing to cook Thanksgiving Day meals.

According to the Missouri Farm Bureau, the overall cost is down slightly this year to $50.46 for a gathering of 10 people, which averages out to about $5.05 a person. The estimated cost from 2015 was $51.92, or $5.19 a person.

Diane Olson is director of promotions and education programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau. She said the figures come from volunteer shoppers who bought the following items to prepare a sample Thanksgiving Day meal:

  • A 16-pound turkey
  • Pre-seasoned stuffing mix
  • 3 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • A relish tray
  • Cranberries
  • Peas
  • 2 pumpkin pies
  • Real whipped cream
  • Brown-and-serve rolls
  • Milk and coffee for beverages

The overall lower cost in Missouri comes even though turkey prices are higher this year.
"They really shouldn't be, because the turkey inventory is good," Olson said. "I think it's just the time of the year; the time in which we surveyed the grocery stores and had our volunteer shoppers doing that, was the time when they really weren't dropping those prices as you got closer to Thanksgiving."

She credits the slightly cheaper cost this year to a significant drop in the cost of dairy products.

"There's a great supply of milk, and we've also seen a decrease in the demand on the export market," she said. "We have plenty of milk here in (the U.S.), and that's forcing the prices downward."

So when did the Farm Bureau volunteers do their shopping?

"We do our survey that very last part of October into about the sixth day of November, so we're doing these pricings at a time when you don't see ... some of the price reductions that you have in the stores now," Olson said. "I noticed in our local (Jefferson City) paper (an ad saying) 'buy a ham and get a turkey free.'"

Missouri's Thanksgiving Day meal costs are slightly higher, though, than the national average. The American Farm Bureau's estimates are $49.87, or $4.99 a person.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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