Food prices aren‘t much higher this Thanksgiving than they were this time last year, according to a Purdue University analysis of USDA data.
Overall grocery prices are only about 1 percent higher than a year ago, but the price of a Thanksgiving turkey may actually be lower than in 2012.
“Last year, we saw whole frozen turkeys at wholesale market at $1.06 per pound, and this year the current forecast is that turkey prices will be between $1.01 and $1.05 per pound in the fourth quarter,” said Corinne Alexander, agricultural economist with Purdue Extension. She adds that most people will pay less for turkeys since grocery stores like to offer deep discounts to lure customers in to buy more profitable items.
Potatoes are more expensive this year, but Alexander says that‘s because potato prices were at a record low last year because of higher than normal production.
“While we always do these prices and they are always reported as year-over-year percentage changes, the right way to think about it is that white potato prices have returned to a normal level,” said Alexander.
Sweet potatoes, which are usually popular at Thanksgiving, are increasingly popular year round, which means their prices have also risen.
“The demand is so strong, so prices are higher even though supplies are going up, just because consumers love sweet potatoes so much.”
Prices for other Thanksgiving staples will be a bit of a mixed bag. For example, cranberry prices are expected to be on par with last year. An abundant crop should keep prices from increasing, while strong demand will keep them from decreasing.