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Holiday meal cost stays steady

Thanksgiving meal food prices in Wisconsin continue to remain stable this year according to Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s annual Marketbasket survey that rang in at $61.57.

The Marketbasket survey is an informal look at the price of popular food items used to prepare a Thanksgiving meal in quantities sufficient to serve 10 people. This survey allows for Wisconsin food prices to be compared with food prices from across the country. The American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey of the same items came in slightly higher than the state survey with a grand total of $62.32.

“Thanksgiving is a time for many Wisconsin families to gather around the dinner table and enjoy a home-cooked meal that consists of many local food products,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Director of Communications Sarah Hetke.

Wisconsin’s Thanksgiving Marketbasket survey is an informal, annual review of food price trends in relation to changing farm prices, weather and wholesale and retail food marketing. Wisconsin Farm Bureau members collected price samples of 15 Thanksgiving food items in 29 communities in November. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals. During the last three decades, retail grocery prices have gradually increased while the share of the average dollar spent on food that farm families receive has decreased. In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures in grocery stores and restaurants. Since then that figure has decreased steadily and is now 14.6 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using that percentage across the board, the farmers’ share of this year’s $61.57 grocery bill is $8.98. “After accounting for bills and other payments that need to be made, farmers’ net income off each retail food dollar is just eight cents,” Hetke added. “Wisconsin shoppers can support farmers by purchasing food products that are grown and raised in our state and across the Midwest.” The USDA says Americans will spend approximately 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average in the world. Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest farm organization. Made up of 61 county Farm Bureaus, it represents farms of every size, commodity and management style.