PHOENIX -- It's going to cost a bit more to feed the brood around the table this year for Thanksgiving -- assuming there is a big family gathering despite the risks of COVID-19.
The latest survey by the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation finds that the average price of a 16-pound turkey is 88 cents a pound. That compares with 73 cents last year -- and 84 cents the year before that.
Shoppers also will have to dig a bit deeper into their wallets than last year for everything from that box of cube stuffing to a bag of frozen green peas.
There are some offsets. But the overall cost of a typical dinner for a family of 10 is up 10% from last year.
So what's causing the increase?
One possible factor, said the Farm Bureau's Julie Murphree, is the pandemic. She said that has had ripple effects on the retail market.
Stores have incurred higher costs as they have had to hire more staff for things like enhanced cleaning of everything from conveyor belts to shopping carts. And there were one-time costs for installing safety shields.
But what's helping hold down prices here, she said, is the fact the state has one of the most competitive grocery markets, with several major chains as well as smaller food stores. That, in turn, can work to a shopper's advantage.
The prices quoted in the Farm Bureau survey are what's marked as retail, what the organization's shoppers found when they went to stores. They do not include deals available to shoppers who carry a grocer's affinity card.
For example, the organization's shoppers found the average price of a 16-pound bird was 88 cents a pound.
But Fry's is offering its own Kroger brand whole turkeys at 68 cents a pound for their frequent shoppers who also made a $25 purchase. Bashas' shoppers could score a similar deal on a Jennie-O turkey.
And shoppers could buy a 5-pound bag of potatoes at Albertsons and Safeway for a quarter, versus the $2.16 average in the Farm Bureau survey.
Also more expensive this year is a one-pound veggie tray of half celery and half carrots, whole milk, whipping cream and fresh cranberries.
But a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix is a bit cheaper, as are those frozen pie shells to pour it into.
And there are some cheaper alternatives outside what the Farm Bureau considers a typical Thanksgiving dinner.
For example, organization shoppers found fresh ham for $2.27 a pound, quite a bit less than turkey. And russet potatoes are cheaper than sweet potatoes.
Of course, all this presumes there will be feasts for families of 10.
State Health Director Cara Christ is cautioning against getting together with people who have not been part of the family ``bubble.'' And in any case, she said, it would be best to move the festivities outside -- or at least to a room with a lot of ventilation.
Murphree acknowledged there is one thing the Farm Bureau did not price that might be of interest to Arizona consumers: toilet paper -- assuming it's available.