Farmers Highlight Small Share of Thanksgiving Retail Food Dollars

US – Consumers’ holiday food costs have declined, but farmers still receive less than 20 per cent of the food dollar, according to the annual Thanksgiving edition of the American National Farmers Union (NFU) Farmer’s Share publication.
calendar icon 22 November 2016
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Yesterday The Poultry Site reported on news that the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is down to less than $5 per person, based on a long-running survey of the main items included in the dinner. The US's Thanksgiving celebrations take place on Thursday.

The NFU Thanksgiving Farmer’s Share publication compares the retail food price of traditional holiday dinner items to the amount the farmer receives for each item.

“It’s important to understand the difference between the price consumers pay for food at the grocery store or restaurant and the commodity prices farmers are paid for their products. Just recently food costs started to drop, but farm and ranch families have been plagued by low commodity prices for nearly three years,” said Roger Johnson, president of NFU.

“Comparatively, the costs associated with the rest of the supply chain have a more pronounced effect on consumers’ food prices.”

On average, farmers receive 17.4 cents of every food dollar consumers spend, while more than 80 per cent of food costs cover marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing. For the 15 items NFU tracks for the Thanksgiving version, farmers received 19.4 cents of the retail food dollar.

Turkey growers, who raise the staple Thanksgiving dish, receive about 89 cents per pound retailing at $1.59.

Thanksgiving presents an opportunity to raise awareness about food production, including misconceptions about food costs, Johnson explained. “Farmers and ranchers play the most valuable role in actually producing the food that is served at holiday dinners, yet they make just pennies on the dollar for their products.”

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