If you’re heading to the grocery store this weekend to grab supplies for a Thanksgiving feast next week, expect to pay a little more for that turkey dinner. Purdue University agricultural economist Corinne Alexander says the increases this year are moderate and build on sharp rises from previous years. Grocery store food prices increased 6.3 percent last September and just 0.8 percent this September. And she says don’t attribute increases this year to the drought.
“If there is any impact from the 2012 drought we’re going to see it in 2013 because of the much more expensive cost of feed for all the turkey producers this year. it means that next year’s turkey is going to be more expensive than this year’s turkey.
And the added expense this year isn’t from turkey prices. They are nearly flat.
“Right now the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts wholesale prices for Eastern market whole turkeys will be between $1.10 and $1.14 per pound in the final quarter of the year. By comparison they were $1.11 per pound last year, so you can see that turkey prices are expected to be about the same. That said when you go to the grocery store you will see a lot of them like to discount turkey and offer that to you at a great price. So if you see a price below $1.10 a pound you know they’re selling to your at a substantial discount even from wholesale prices.”
There is an adequate supply of whole turkeys, 12 percent better than last year.
It is the increase in overall food prices that will drive the Thanksgiving meal higher. Sugar, flour, eggs, milk, rolls and bread are all up. But there are some turkey dinner staples that have dropped in price this year.
“It turns out last year we had a lot of production problems when it came to both sweet potatoes and white potatoes. This year those production problems have resolved and so we’re expecting to see quite a bit lower prices for both. For those of us who like our carbs that wonderful news. In addition the cranberry crop this year was a good one so I would expect to see prices there roughly the same as last year, maybe up a little bit.”
A rise in gasoline prices makes the grocery store trip more expensive, but other energy prices are lower than a year ago. Alexander says electricity prices are down about 1.5 percent, and natural gas prices are about 8 percent lower than last fall, so the dinner will cost less to prepare.