Indiana Thanksgiving food prices are down from last year

Although prices are still high due to inflation, Hoosier shoppers can expect to spend about 10 percent less on Thanksgiving groceries than in 2022.

Hoosiers pay an average of $54.64 for Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people, or $5.46 per person, according to the Indiana Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving market basket survey.

The survey was conducted in early November by volunteer shoppers who collected the prices of specific food items from one of their local grocery stores. They were asked to search for the best possible prices without using special coupons or deals to purchase.

The 2023 market basket includes a 16-pound turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, a vegetable tray with carrots and celery, whole milk, blueberries, whipping cream, pumpkin pie ingredients and various baking items. Indiana’s market basket price is also roughly 11 percent lower, or 66 cents less, than the U.S. average price of $6.12 per person, the Indiana Farm Bureau, or INFB, said in a news release.

The main driver of the decrease for Hoosiers is the lower turkey price, INFB Chief Economist Todd Davis said in the news release. This year, shoppers can expect to pay roughly $1.38 per pound for a whole turkey, or $22.11 for a 16-pound bird — a decrease of about 21 percent from 2022. That’s largely due to a dramatic drop in bird flu cases and the recovery of the turkey population in the United States, and particularly in the Midwest, where the most turkeys are produced.

The Midwest had the cheapest market basket at an average price of $58.66, INFB said.

“Three of the top five turkey-producing states are in the Midwest, with Indiana coming in fourth,” he said in the news release. “The concentration of turkey production in this region ensures lower processing and marketing costs, which moves the turkey from the farm to the hands of the consumer efficiently.”

Over half of the items in the market basket are cheaper for Hoosiers than last year — most notably turkey, whipped cream and blueberries. However, there were some items that went up in price, with the largest percentage price increases for pumpkin pie filling mix and frozen peas, according to the INFB.

Only the pumpkin pie filling, sweet potatoes, veggie tray and blueberries are more expensive in Indiana this year than nationally. Among those items, pumpkin pie filling had the biggest difference, about 9 percent, while sweet potatoes had the lowest, about 1 percent, the data showed.

All other items in the market basket were at or below the national average, with INFB noting turkey, whole milk, and pie crusts as examples. Compared to the national average, turkey is about 19% cheaper, whole milk is about 19% cheaper, and pie shells are roughly 17% cheaper in Indiana this year.

While there’s been a decrease in overall Thanksgiving dining spending, INFB says Hoosiers are still paying 28 percent more than they did four years ago. This reflects the average price in the US.

Citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the INFB said the consumer price index for take-home meals, a measure of changes in prices at the grocery store, rose 4.9 percent year-over-year from January to October 2023. base. For all of 2022, annual spending on food at home increased by 11.4%.

“Although the level of inflation is not as extreme as last year, the cumulative effect of food inflation is still very much there,” Davis said. “This includes the collective impact of labor, fuel, packaging and transport costs, all of which are costs beyond the farm gate.”

This chart compares Thanksgiving meal costs in Indiana between this year and last year, along with the national average. Indiana Farm Bureau Table

Only 14 cents of every retail food dollar can be attributed to agricultural produce, after accounting for input costs, according to the US Department of Agriculture. With this figure in mind, the farmer’s share of the market basket of $54.64 would be less than $8. The rest is for food processing, packaging, transportation, wholesale and retail distribution and food service preparation, according to the INFB.

In addition, droughts over the past few years have affected the ability of crops to grow, driving up prices, along with high shipping costs.

“It’s been a tough few years for farmers in terms of high production costs and getting what we need to produce food, fuel and fiber for the world,” said Isabella Chism, second vice president of the INFB. “And the amount paid to farmers has not covered the increase in their input costs. But Hoosier farmers continue to find ways to streamline their operations and reduce production costs, and we’re excited to see that this Thanksgiving will be a little more affordable for consumers than last year.”

Food spending and consumer trends around the holidays were the focus of Purdue University’s October Consumer Food Report. Joe Balagtas, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University and director of the Food Demand Center, said in an interview with The Associated Press that food price inflation last month was measured at 3.7 percent, the lowest point since two years.

“So inflation is starting to cool, and that’s a good thing,” Balagtas said. “Of course, cooling inflation does not mean that prices are falling; they just rise at a slower rate.”

This report also found that 8 out of 10 Americans plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with a large meal. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed said they would have turkey as the centerpiece for Thanksgiving.

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