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Inflation Means Thanksgiving Turkey, Potatoes, Holiday Meal Prices Rising

As Americans finish their Thanksgiving groceries, they can expect a healthy dose of inflation on their plates throughout the holidays.

The consumer price index rose at an annual rate of 7.7% in the October inflation report, but of most concern to American chefs: food prices rose 11% from to last year, when inflation was already at uncomfortable levels.

Last week, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 37th annual Thanksgiving dinner cost survey showed prices jumped 20% based on reports from its volunteer shoppers. That’s on top of the 14% that buyer sleuths found last year.

In the producer price index, which rose 10.3% in October, turkeys more than tripled the index: up 32%. Turkey prices jumped 20% from October 2021.

These increases appeared in our shopping baskets in October, according to the CPI. In the American Farm Bureau survey, the average price for a 16-pound bird rose 21% to $28.96, or $1.81 per pound.

The September Inflation Report listed four dozen items with “largest-ever” annual increases since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking them. Most articles are indexed in the early 80s; some date back further.

Most important for grocery shoppers: 20 of these largest increases were in foods or food categories. Looking at that same basket in October, all but one recorded double-digit increases from a year ago and eight recorded new “biggest ever” increases in October.

One of the biggest year-over-year increases in the October report was in the fats and oils section, which rose 23%.

Driving much of the change: butter, up 27%, and margarine, up 47%. Together, they increased by 34%.

CNBC took a deep dive into the phenomenon that dates back largely to the Russian invasion of Ukraine (a major producer of sunflower oil), drought in Canada (canola oil) and other weather conditions. in Brazil (soya).

Vegetable oils are a key component of margarine, so with rising oil prices due to shortages caused by world events, the spread saw its biggest increase since April 1975.

The tightening of milk supply and the increase in production costs largely explain the rise in butter. Producer costs for raw milk rose 28% annually in September.

In stores, American Farm Bureau shoppers found that a gallon of whole milk rose 16% to $3.84 while a half pint of whipping cream rose 26% to $2. $24.

You name the food: it was higher in October than last year, and most of those increases were in the double digits. Meat and fish were notable exceptions, but many beef and pork categories were among the first to report the rapid rise in inflation last year.

The American Farm Bureau survey found that 3 pounds of sweet potatoes rose 11% to $3.96, while a 5-pound bag of russet potatoes rose 23% to $3.64. $. Both saw single-digit increases last year.

The CPI report isn’t that detailed, but the 15% annual increase in October suggests we’ll be paying even more this year for all kinds of potatoes.

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USA Today

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