Thanksgiving feast costs less in Texas, Farm Bureau says, but still 10 percent more than last year ` Texas

Thanksgiving dinner will cost shoppers more in San Antonio this year, but the classic holiday celebration is slightly cheaper in Texas than other states.

“Classic Texas Thanksgiving food seems like a better buy than most parts of the country,” said Russell Boening, a farmer and rancher in Wilson County, southeast of San Antonio.

But the higher prices are making some San Antonio shoppers skimp to get the turkey and ingredients on the table.

After shopping at a West Side San Antonio HEB this week, Veronica Arcos said she could buy all the ingredients for her family’s Thanksgiving dinner within $2 of her budget. But making ends meet has meant shaving pennies on other meals this week.

“I have everything, we just have to cut other things,” said Arcos. “So we go with spaghetti and Salisbury steaks during the week” before Thursday.

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Farm Bureau economists said the median price for a Thanksgiving centerpiece — a 16-pound turkey — nationwide is $28.96, up 21 percent from a year earlier. The average cost of a 16-pound turkey in Texas is $26.93.

Factors beyond economy-wide inflation have helped push turkey prices higher this year, said Roger Cryan, the Farm Bureau’s chief economist. These included increased turkey feed prices and a small flock of birds available.

Boening, president of the Texas Farm Bureau, said farmers are feeling the pressure too.

“Farmers and ranchers are working hard to meet the growing demand for food — both here in the US and around the world — while they themselves face higher prices for fuel, fertilizer and other inputs,” he said.

The Farm Bureau survey measures prices for the Thanksgiving fixes of turkey, stuffing, buttered buns, sweet potatoes, cranberries, peas, carrots and celery, a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, milk and coffee.

At the HEB on Fredericksburg Road in the Deco District, another shopper said she bought mostly vegetables for the meal to avoid a big expense. But even amid higher prices, she noticed the crowds and the grocery store’s crowded parking lot.

“As much as people bitch about gas and higher prices, they’re still going to spend,” she said, identifying only as Linda. “The grocery stores are (packaged).”

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According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost of household groceries in the US has increased more than 12 percent over the past year. That increase in food costs outpaced headline inflation, which rose less than 8 percent from a year earlier.

The Farm Bureau survey found every ingredient for Thanksgiving dinner is more expensive this year — except for cranberries. The survey found that filling is 69 percent more expensive, while the price of a gallon of milk is up 16 percent.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, this year’s median price for a Thanksgiving meal is the most expensive since 2011, when the holiday feast cost $64.81 in today’s dollars.

Before this year, the price of a Thanksgiving dinner was generally declining, barring inflation. When the Farm Bureau began its annual Thanksgiving survey in 1986, the meal cost $28.74. That would be about $77.58 in 2022.

And an article published by The New York Times in 1932 noted that a “housewife” in “moderate-income families” could serve “an old-fashioned turkey dinner with all the trimmings” for a price of $5.42 — or only more than 122 dollars today.

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