CHICAGO -- The cost for Thanksgiving dinner will fall to the lowest in three years as consumers pay less for turkey, stuffing and rolls, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The average expense of feeding 10 people the 12 items typically served for the holiday feast will be $49.04 this year, down 0.9 percent from 2012, the Washington-based group said recently in a statement, after conducting its 28th annual informal survey of supermarkets.
The cost of the meal has been around $49 since 2011, federation data show.
Most agricultural commodity prices have dropped this year after farmers boosted output, sending corn and wheat into bear markets. Global food costs tracked by the United Nations are 14 percent below the record set in February 2011. In 2012, U.S. livestock producers and grain growers faced the most-severe drought since the 1930s.
"The cost of this year's meal, at less than $5 per serving, remains an excellent value for consumers," Bob Stallman, the federation's president and a rice and cattle producer from Texas, said in the statement.
Talking turkey: Turkey prices fell 2.1 percent, or 47 cents, the biggest single decline, according to the survey. The national average price for a 16-pound bird is $21.76, or $1.36 a pound, according to the federation. That doesn't include store promotions or rebates.
U.S. warehouses held about 325.6 million pounds of frozen whole turkeys at the end of September, up 6.6 percent from a year earlier, the latest government data show.
"Most Americans will pay about the same as last year at the grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings," John Anderson, the federation's deputy chief economist, said in the statement. "Slightly higher turkey production for much of the year, coupled with an increase in birds in cold storage, may be responsible for the moderate price decrease our shoppers reported."
Sides: The cost of 12 rolls fell 15 cents, the biggest decline after the turkey, to $2.18. Prices for green peas, fresh cranberries, and pie shells fell.
The cost of 3 pounds of sweet potatoes rose 21 cents, the biggest gain. Prices also increased for pumpkin-pie mix, whole milk, relish made of celery and carrots, and whipping cream. Items including onions, eggs, sugar, flour and butter to prepare the dinner rose 2 cents.
The federation's survey was first conducted in 1986, and the menu for the dinner has been unchanged since then to allow for consistent price comparisons. A total of 167 volunteer shoppers checked prices at stores in 34 states.