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How much will your Thanksgiving meal cost?

The cost of poultry went up 17.2% over the last year.

Longmont families are beginning to plan for their holiday meal, but how much will they spend at the grocery store? According to Bradley Rickard, food and agricultural economist at Cornell University, it will likely cost more than it did 12 months ago. 

“The latest data shows that prices for the food sold in grocery stores have increased 13% on average between September 2021 and September 2022,” Rickard said. He specified that in the past year, poultry costs including turkey rose 17.2%, partly due to the 2022 U.S. outbreak of avian flu. Along with this, egg prices rose by 30.5%, dairy prices increased 15.9%, and bakery prices are as much as 16.2%higher than they were. 

Research into a moderately sized meal for six, priced using the website of a major grocery store, gives a sense of what local households might pay. Shoppers can expect to spend:

  • $1.99 a pound for a 10lb turkey
  • $4.99 for a 12-count package of dinner rolls
  • $3.99 for a 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
  • $5.67 for 3 pounds of sweet potatoes cost
  • $3.79 for a gallon of whole milk
  • $3.99 for a box of butter
  • $2.69 for a pound of frozen peas
  • $1.24 will buy carrots and celery for a one-pound veggie tray
  • $3.00 for stuffing mix
  • $2.00 for a jar of gravy
  • $4.00 for chicken broth
  • $8.50 will buy a  pumpkin pie crust and filling 
  • $1.50 for a half pint of heavy whipping cream 

The total cost for a family making these choices for their meal would reach $47.35. However, families have options for how to manage dinner and this will affect the cost. Cooks can opt for canned cranberries and white potatoes, which are both less expensive than fresh cranberries and sweet potatoes. Families can also evaluate pricing on alternate brands and item sizes or buy ingredients in bulk and share with friends or neighbors. 

In addition to making decisions about the content of their meal, cooks can shop early, taking advantage of early sales of non-perishable items. They can also compare between stores and check online pricing against what’s available live in grocers’ freezers. Some shoppers found that the same turkeys listed for $1.99 online were being sold for .99 to in-store shoppers.

The Our Center is seeing individuals impacted by higher prices not just at Thanksgiving but throughout the year. 

“Food prices are increasing, and the Our Center is seeing more people trying to stretch their budget as they try to make ends meet,” said Elaine Klotz, development director at The Our Center. She added “They’re using our Community Market (the Our Center’s food pantry) as much as twice a week to access the groceries they need.” 

Kloz indicated she is seeing as many as 30 new families each week who are using the center. Donations of nonperishable food and toiletries are accepted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends/major holidays at 220 Collyer St., Longmont, via the south side entry at the “Donation Zone” door.