Yes, Hoosier Farmers Contribute to that Thanksgiving Feast



In the new Farm Bureau Thanksgiving market basket surveys, Hoosiers will pay more for their Thanksgiving meal compared to a year ago while the national average cost of the meal declined. In Indiana, a basic Thanksgiving dinner for 10 which includes 12 traditional food items rose from just under $47 dollars last year to $50.88 this year. The meal totals about $5.08 per person served, and Indiana Farm Bureau second vice president Isabella Chism said the percentage of that going back to farmers keeps declining.

“In the mid-70’s, we were told that the farmer gets about one-third of every dollar spent on food whether you’re fixing at home or eating at a restaurant,” she told HAT. “Today that number is sixteen percent, so sixteen cents of every dollar you spend on your groceries or at a restaurant goes to the farmer. All the rest goes to different parts of the food industry.”

You can thank American farmers for the $5 turkey dinner, and Indiana farmers are contributing also.

“Yes, they are whether it’s through the corn or soybean that’s fed to the turkeys, the turkeys that we raise, the dairy farmers that produce the milk, the whipping cream that we purchased today, or ice cream if you add to it.”

The market basket survey averages prices secured by 37 Indiana volunteer shoppers who collected prices at their own local grocery store. HAT accompanied Chism on her trip to a Kokomo grocery store.

“Now we’re looking at something that we grow in Indiana. In fact, we’re ranked third in turkey production, and fifteen percent of the soybean meal that is fed to livestock is consumed by turkeys. It just shows how we’re all connected, soybean growers, turkey growers.” (watch the YouTube video)

Volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

While 2017 prices are approximately 9 percent higher than 2016’s market basket at $46.81, this year’s prices are only 1 percent higher than prices in 2015. Last year, prices saw a decrease of around 7 percent overall, making the 2016 market basket the lowest recorded since 2010. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, the prices showed a steady increase each year – 2017 prices trend similarly.

The market basket price of $50.88 includes a 16-pound turkey, the ingredients for stuffing and a pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, a carrot and celery veggie tray, whole milk, cranberries and miscellaneous baking items such as eggs, sugar and butter.

While some items on the holiday shopping list declined in cost, the main factor in the overall price increase was the 16-pound turkey, being the most expensive item on the list, which increased 15 percent, or just over $3, this year. Stuffing, pumpkin pie filling and the veggie tray also saw significant increases in price.

“Despite the modest increase in Indiana, consumers continue to see affordable prices for turkey this year, due to its large inventory across the country,” explained Chism, also chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee. “Indiana has a lot to do with that, since our state ranks so high in turkey production.”

The items that Indiana shoppers can expect to pay less for this year include rolls, peas, whipping cream and pie shells. The price for whole milk and cranberries remained relatively unchanged.

Indiana Farm Bureau Thanksgiving Survey 2015 2016 2017 Change*
Turkey (16 lb.) $25.12 $22.56 $25.99 + 15%
Stuffing (14 oz. package) $2.54 $2.44 $2.81 + 15%
Pumpkin pie filling mix (30 oz. can) $3.19 $2.73 $3.11 + 14%
Pie shell, 9 in. (2 per package) $2.40 $2.45 $2.38 – 3%
Sweet potatoes (3 lb.) $3.21 $3.12 $3.24 + 4%
Rolls (12 oz./12 per package) $2.09 $2.14 $1.97 – 8%
Peas (16 oz. package) $1.07 $1.64 $1.60 – 2.5%
Relish tray (1 lb. mixed carrots, celery) $0.80 $0.69 $0.80 + 16%
Whole milk (gal.) $2.69 $2.19 $2.16 – 1%
Cranberries (fresh, 12 oz. package) $2.09 $2.16 $2.14 – 1%
Whipping cream (½ pint) $1.95 $1.88 $1.96 – 4%
Misc. ingredients (coffee, plus items necessary to prepare the meal, such as butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) $3.18 $2.81 $2.72 – 3%
TOTAL $50.33 $46.81 $50.88 + 9%

*The change column is comparing 2016 and 2017 prices exclusively.

INFB’s survey is part of a national survey coordinated annually by the American Farm Bureau Federation. A total of 141 volunteer shoppers in 39 states participated this year. While Indiana’s average meal price increased this year, the national average meal cost decreased. The national meal average is $49.12 which is approximately 3 percent less than this year’s Indiana average.

“For the second consecutive year, the [national] cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined,” AFBF director of market intelligence Dr. John Newton said. “Even as America’s family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year.”

Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook, such as the many farmers still completing this year’s harvest, is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets for around $50 to $75.

“As a member of an Indiana farm family, I am honored to help produce the food that families gather around for Thanksgiving celebrations each year,” said Chism, who farms in Howard County.

INFB and AFBF’s 2017 Thanksgiving market basket prices track closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home.

Sources: INFB and AFBF