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Farm Bureau: Cost of Thanksgiving dinner lowest in 10 years

Farm Bureau: Cost of Thanksgiving dinner lowest in 10 years
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Americans will spend less on average for this year's Thanksgiving celebrations than in any year since 2010, according to an analysis from the U.S. Farm Bureau.

The organization said Thursday in a news release that an annual survey conducted to determine the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for a family unit of 10 people indicated a roughly $2 drop compared to last year, down to $46.90.

The foods showing price declines include turkeys, down 7 percent from 2019, as well as sweet potatoes and whipping cream.

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Some grocery chains have begun marketing whole turkeys as "loss leaders," according to the Farm Bureau, meaning that they are priced below what stores would typically need to make a profit. The practice can be used to entice more shoppers to particular stores, where customers typically spend money on other items.

“Pricing whole turkeys as ‘loss leaders’ to entice shoppers and move product is a strategy we’re seeing retailers use that’s increasingly common the closer we get to the holiday,” said John Newton, the Farm Bureau's chief economist.

Supplies of whole turkeys around the country have so far not been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Newton added. 

"Turkeys — and other staples of the traditional Thanksgiving meal — are currently in ample supply at grocery stores in most areas of the country," he said.

Thanksgiving celebrations around the country are expected to be both fewer and smaller this year due to concerns about the pandemic, which have led state health officials to advise against large indoor gatherings, particularly in cases involving vulnerable members of the population, such as the immune-compromised or elderly.

A survey published by Ohio State University last week found that just under 40 percent of Americans are planning to gather with 10 or more people for the upcoming holiday.