Because of its origin in colonists´ gratitude for a plentiful harvest, Thanksgiving may be the most food-oriented holiday that Americans celebrate. Modern Americans spend less of their incomes on food than people in any other nation, and a Farm Bureau survey of California grocery stores found plenty of bargains as the holiday approaches.
For example, supermarket prices for the traditional Thanksgiving main dish, the turkey, averaged $1.33 a pound for fresh California-grown birds and $1.30 for frozen, the Farm Bureau reports. Prices ranged as low as 79 cents-a-pound and shoppers will find even better bargains in coming days.
California Farm Bureau Federation President Bill Pauli noted farmers receive only a fraction of the money that shoppers spend on food. For example, farmers earn about 35 cents a pound for turkey, about 15 cents per pound for sweet potatoes and $1 a pound for walnuts.
Many local grocery stores have offered free or discounted turkeys as an enticement to bring shoppers into the stores.
An average total cost this year for 22 food items needed to prepare the basic Thanksgiving holiday meal, without the centerpiece turkey, is $45.54.
The survey area supermarket average low price was in Fresno at $39.02.
Individual items in the survey varied in price, compared to results of the previous Farm Bureau supermarket survey in August. Average retail prices for butter and raisins were lower. Average prices went up for milk, cheese, broccoli, lettuce and whole wheat bread.