Managing prices is a constant struggle for small business owners, especially when large competitors can slash costs like it's nothing. That's what's on the minds of independent food vendors as they prepare for Thanksgiving later this week. Crafting a locally sourced menu will certainly cost you more than it would at your regular old grocery store--but it's almost certainly healthier and better for the environment. So if you've got some budget to spare and you want to support small business, how about starting with your Thanksgiving Day feast?
The American Farm Bureau Federation released its 29th annual price survey of "classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table," and the average price of a full dinner for a family of 10 came out to $49.41, a 37-cent increase from last year. The rise doesn't actually come from the menu's big-ticket item--the price of a 16 pound turkey actually dropped by 11 cents. It's driven instead by a rise in sweet potatoes, dairy products and pumpkin pie mix--along with the one-pound tray of carrots and celery, the bag of green peas and a combined group of other miscellaneous items. In other words, just about everything else.
It's hard to tell just how much an artisanal celebration will set you back. After all, no two independent sundries purveyors are alike. Plus, going the artisanal route is the antithesis of the one-stop-shop, so narrowing down the cost of an independent feast is hard.
Still, organic products may serve as a good proxy for those offered by independent shops. According to the Arizona Farm Bureau's 4th annual Organic Price Survey, the grand dollar figure for the annual feast is $95.76, almost double the cost of a conventional Thanksgiving dinner and a $4.76 increase over last year. While, the cost of an organic turkey is actually more than double the cost of a conventional turkey (Vox has a nice breakdown of why), some of the other price differentials are less heady. A dozen organic bread rolls, for example, only cost 32 cents more than their conventional counterparts.
Here's the full breakdown:
16 pound turkey: $21.65 vs. $52.00
1 gallon whole milk: $3.76 vs. $5.12
3 pounds sweet potatoes: $3.56 vs. $5.67
30 ounces pumpkin pie mix: $3.12 vs. $5.99
14 ounces cubed stuffing: $2.54 vs. $4.99
Two pie shells: $2.42 vs. $4.89
12 ounces fresh cranberries: $2.34 vs. $2.99
12 bread rolls: $2.17 vs. $2.49
Half-pint whipping cream: $2.00 vs. $2.48
1 pound green peas: $1.55 vs. $2.49
1 pound relish tray (carrots and celery): $0.82 vs. $1.79
Miscellaneous ingredients: $3.48 vs. $4.95
Total: $49.41 vs. $95.76