We’re eating a bit cheaper

Published 1:40 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2015

By Debbie Cohen

Staff writer

Thanksgiving dinner is a bit cheaper this year.

It will cost an average of $44.52 to serve up a turkey dinner for 10 people in the Commonwealth, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

That’s down about $1.93 from last year. The menu includes turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrot and celery, milk and pumpkin pie with whip cream.

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The cost to shop for a comparable dinner in Smithfield this week, depending on brand preference, sales and other factors, was about $47 at Farm Fresh.

Turkeys are the biggest ticket item and a frozen Butterball at Farm Fresh was $1.59 a pound. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

But not all turkeys are the same, and some people look for other attributes.

“I prefer a turkey that is all natural, even if it costs more,” said Smithfield resident Maxine Hill.

“I want one without hormones, antibiotics or steroids, and I also like a smaller sized turkey.”

She also added, that Thanksgiving is not just about food, but it’s about being thankful for all we have.

Another Smithfield shopper said that it is better to buy a medium-sized turkey than a very large one because it cooks better.

“It is the way you cook, season and baste a turkey that makes it taste good,” said Isle of Wight resident Deloise Gwaltney. “Also, you don’t have to spend a lot more money on a brand name turkey. You can save money and just remember it is the way you cook your roast that matters.”

One reason for a less expensive dinner is that livestock prices are down from last year, said Jonah Bowles, VFBF agriculture market analyst.

“Turkey has not see as much of a decrease as other poultry, but we are seeing a decline of more than $3,” he said. “We also have a decline in dairy prices for the consumer compared to last year.”

Since VFBF began conducting the survey in 2003, the average cost of a family’s Thanksgiving meal in Virginia has increased by $5.40.

Earlier this year, there was concern that an outbreak of avian flu would impact the supply of turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That didn’t happen, Bowles said.

The supply of turkeys for Thanksgiving processing began before the avian outbreak, Bowles said.

Also, the turkey industry can expand and react to changes in supply and demand quickly, he added. {/mprestriction}