BATON ROUGE, La. (Press Release) — (11/21/19) If you live in Louisiana, you have a lot of reasons to be grateful for the state’s farmers and ranchers this Thanksgiving. 

According to a statewide sample of prices for the 34th annual American Farm Bureau Federation Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey, Louisiana residents can expect to spend $1.37 less than the national average for a classic Thanksgiving dinner for ten people. That classic dinner consists of 11 main items, including a turkey, veggie tray, pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes, along with the cost for miscellaneous ingredients like eggs, flour and evaporated milk.

The average cost for those items in Louisiana is $47.54. The national average according to the American Farm Bureau is $48.91, which is just one penny higher than last year’s national average.

“No matter how good or bad farmers and ranchers are doing financially, people in Louisiana know when they go to the store they’re going to get the safest and most affordable food anywhere in the world,” said Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson. “What they may not know is that the farmer’s share of each dollar they spend on food is only eight cents.”

This year, the farmer’s share of Thanksgiving dinner in Louisiana is only $3.80. 

The overall cost for Thanksgiving dinner may be less in Louisiana, but shoppers here can expect to pay 75 cents more than the national average for a gallon of milk and for the pumpkin pie mix. However, Louisiana shoppers pay considerably less than the national average for the turkey and sweet potatoes. The average price in Louisiana for a 16 pound turkey is $2.24 less than the national average and Louisiana shoppers pay $2.32 less for three pounds of sweet potatoes.

“We’re blessed to have farmers right here in Louisiana who grow some of the foods we eat at Thanksgiving,” said Louisiana Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Denise Cannatella. “I live and farm in St. Landry Parish where you can buy some of the tastiest sweet potatoes directly from our neighbors.”

Here is a compiled list of the average price for each survey item from Louisiana.

  • Frozen, Self-Basting Young Tom Turkey: $18.56
  • Cube Stuffing (Herb Seasoned), 14 oz. package: $3.12
  • Enriched Brown & Serve Rolls, 12 oz./12 per package: $2.64
  • Fresh Sweet Potatoes, 3 lbs: $1.43
  • Veggie Tray (carrots and celery) 1 lb: $1.22
  • Whole Milk, 1 gal: $3.85
  • Libby’s Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix, 30 oz. can: $4.07
  • Fresh Cranberries, 12 oz. package: $3.05
  • Whipped Cream, 1/2 pint carton: $2.35
  • Frozen Green Peas, 16 oz. package: $1.86
  • 9″ Frozen Pie Shells, 2 per package: $2.17
  • Miscellaneous ingredients (Eggs, Flour, Evaporated Milk): $3.22

That is slightly higher than last year’s average cost of $45.11. But it is still below the national average calculated by the American Farm Bureau Federation — $48.91.

Quincy L. Vidrine, a family and consumer sciences agent with the LSU AgCenter, recently conducted a survey of stores in the Alexandria area to assess the cost of items commonly featured on Louisiana Thanksgiving tables. Her shopping list included turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, butter, peas, cranberries, a vegetable tray, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, coffee and milk.

“The meal would feed roughly 10 people, which makes the per-person cost about $4.69 — not a bad deal overall,” Vidrine said.

The survey didn’t account for the cost of regional favorites such as rice dressing, cornbread dressing and pecan pie.

“These additional dishes may up the price a bit, but most Louisianians would not complain,” she said.

Other factors, such as using grocery delivery services, could increase the cost. People also can expect a heftier bill if they purchase complete, pre-cooked meals from stores or restaurants.

“The aforementioned options would bring the cost of your Thanksgiving meal upwards of $85 to $100,” Vidrine said, “but some people are perfectly fine with paying a little extra to be relieved of the stress, hustle and bustle that comes with preparing the big meal for Turkey Day.”

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